Petroc Trelawny introduces a complete performance of Mozart's "Turkish" opera, Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, K384, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Mozart wrote the Abduction from the Seraglio in 1781 just after he had moved to Vienna, a city that had been besieged by the Turkish armies less than 100 years before. Now with the threat from the Ottoman Empire a receding memory, Turkish settings and the spicy exotic sounds of Turkish military bands became all the rage for composers in Vienna and it was against this background that Mozart wrote his German language 'singspiel' for the city's Burgtheater.
It tells the story of a young nobleman Belmonte and his attempts to rescue his betrothed Konstanze and their servants Pedrillo and Blonde from the Palace of Pasha Selim and the clutches of the Pasha's henchman Osmin. However at the moment when Belmonte's plans go awry and the quartet are at the mercy of the Pasha the ruler's humanity and enlightenment shine through and the prisoners are set free.
Belmonte - Peter Schreier (tenor)
Konstanze - Yvonne Kenny (soprano)
Osmin - Matti Salminen (bass)
Blonde - Lillian Watson (soprano)
Pedrillo - Wilfried Gamlich (tenor)
Pasha Selim - Wolfgang Reichmann (speaking role)
Zurich Opera Chorus
Mozart Orchestra of Zurich Opera
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor).
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