- The Abduction from the Seraglio(140 mins)semi-staged; sung and spoken in German
- The Abduction from the Seraglio – Act 1
- The Abduction from the Seraglio – Act 2
- The Abduction from the Seraglio – Act 3
About this event
Energy and good humour meet musical exoticism in Mozart’s earliest operatic success – the storybook fantasy The Abduction from the Seraglio. It’s a work born of the 18th-century fascination with the Orient and there’s no resisting the jangling pulse of percussion that is the opera’s heartbeat. Glyndebourne Festival Opera returns for its annual visit to the Proms under Music Director Robin Ticciati, with an international cast led by British soprano Sally Matthews and Lithuanian tenor Edgaras Montvidas.
There will be two intervals
Searching on the Turkish coast for his beloved Konstanze, the Spanish nobleman Belmonte arrives in front of Pasha Selim’s palace, where he hopes to find her. But how will he be able to get in?
The Pasha’s overseer Osmin enters and sings a song about the need to keep sweethearts locked up to avoid them straying. At first ignoring Belmonte, Osmin admits that this is the Pasha’s house and that he is one of his servants. When Belmonte mentions Pedrillo – his former manservant, now employed as the Pasha’s gardener – Osmin bridles: he would have the scoundrel burned. He drives Belmonte away.
Pedrillo now enters and tries vainly to make peace with Osmin. The latter rails against jumped-up beaux like Pedrillo, always full of deceitful trickery. But he is wise to them and will try to have him put to death; he outlines a series of tortures he has in mind.
Belmonte returns, and he and Pedrillo greet one another. Pedrillo explains how he, Konstanze and her lady’s maid (and his sweetheart) Blonde were all purchased by the Pasha after being abducted by pirates. Belmonte is appalled to discover that Konstanze is now the Pasha’s favourite, though is relieved to learn that the Pasha is not forcing his love upon her.
Belmonte gives Pedrillo the news that he has a boat near the harbour. Pedrillo intends to pass Belmonte off as an architect – architecture being the Pasha’s passion. He sees the Pasha arriving with his entourage, including Konstanze. At the mention of her name Belmonte is excited. Pedrillo draws him into hiding.
The Pasha’s followers sing his praises. Pasha Selim addresses Konstanze privately. He wants her to love him, but will not force her. She asks him to forgive her: she loves her beloved and swore to be true to him. She begs for more time to forget her sorrow. Selim reluctantly agrees.
After Konstanze has left, Pedrillo introduces Belmonte to Selim as an architect. Selim takes him on. Osmin, however, bars their way into the palace. Despite his threats, they push him away from the door and enter.
Inside the house, Blonde sings of how tenderness and kindness win women’s hearts, not bullying or nagging. Osmin overhears and contradicts her: in Turkey, he is the master and she the slave. Blonde threatens to scratch his eyes out. He warns her to keep away from Pedrillo. She stands up for her freedom.
Konstanze enters and sings of the pain of her separation from Belmonte. Selim arrives. He has lost patience with Konstanze: she must love him or face torture. She will withstand any tortures, she tells him. Finding her pleas for mercy falling on deaf ears, she resolves to bear them and die.
Pedrillo comes upon Blonde and alerts her to the plan of escape; Belmonte’s boat lies off the coast. She looks forward to bringing Konstanze the good news.
Pedrillo tries to steel himself for the dangers ahead. Coming upon him in such a mood, Osmin is suspicious. Pedrillo tries to deflect him with the offer of some wine. Osmin accepts. They sing in praise of wine and women. Pedrillo sends Osmin off the worse for wear.
Belmonte enters, keenly anticipating Konstanze’s appearance. On seeing him again, she is in tears. To kiss them away, Belmonte tells her, is love’s greatest joy. The two sing of their happiness at being reunited. Pedrillo and Blonde, too, look forward to their escape.
But both the men fear that their sweethearts have been unfaithful. Konstanze is deeply hurt. Blonde boxes Pedrillo’s ears. Reassured, Belmonte and Pedrillo beg for forgiveness for their doubts.
At midnight, Pedrillo and Klaas, a Dutch sea-captain in Belmonte’s employ, make ready for the forthcoming escape. Belmonte stands in the square outside the Pasha’s palace and celebrates what love can achieve. Pedrillo returns and gives the signal to the women by singing a serenade.
Konstanze opens her window. Belmonte climbs up a ladder and enters. He brings Konstanze out of her room, as Pedrillo prepares to do the same with Blonde. Suddenly Osmin looks out of his window, spots the escape in progress and summons the guards. Belmonte and Konstanze are dragged back.
Osmin gleefully threatens all four with the direst punishment. Selim enters to discover Konstanze and Belmonte’s deception. Trying to ransom them with an offer of money, Belmonte makes matters worse by mentioning that his father is the Spaniard Lostados, Governor of Oran. It is to that barbarian, Selim informs him, that he owes his own misfortunes. Now Lostados’s son is in Selim’s power. The Pasha angrily leaves.
Konstanze comforts Belmonte with the thought that they will die together. Selim and Osmin return. The Pasha has decided to repay treachery with kindness; he will release Belmonte and Konstanze so that Belmonte can inform his father of Selim’s generosity. Pedrillo chips in that he and Blonde would like their freedom, too. To Osmin’s fury, Selim grants it.
Belmonte tells Selim that he will always remember his nobility; Konstanze, Pedrillo and Blonde all concur. Only Osmin is unappeased and rushes off in a rage. Selim’s guards hail his greatness.
Synopsis © George Hall