It was only a matter of time before William Christie got around to recording Mozart's delightful 1782 singspiel, and the results are very happy indeed. Period instruments are just right for the raucous "Turkish" music Mozart composed for Entführung, and they go very nicely with the light voices Christie has chosen as well. Most successful is the Belmonte of tenor Ian Bostridge, already famous for his lieder singing.
Critical acclaim for this superb co-production of Vienna's Staatsoper, the Wiener Festwochen and Brussels' Théâtre de la Monnaie (Das Opernglas): "Directors Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann, working with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, demonstrate that the 'Entführung' is fully on the level of Mozart's Da Ponte operas and 'Zauberflöte'. In the harmony of staging and music, this is one of the most impressive Mozart performances Vienna has offered in a long time… Breaking with tradition, it seeks to fulfil his intentions as closely as possible."
Set in the exotic seraglio of the Pasha Selim, the story revolves around the rescue of the lovely Constanze by her lover Belmonte – a tale of love, bravery and forgiveness. In this work, Mozart breaks new ground in introducing dramatically rounded characters with recognisably human feelings and weaknesses. The work influenced and changed the nature of opera throughout Europe. This charming production from Drottningholm does full justice to Mozart’s score. Arnold Östman’s deliberate conducting combined with Carl Friedrich Oberle’s design demonstrates that this really is “an eternal masterpiece of music drama by a youthful, exuberant composer who suddenly found his individual voice and style in the field of opera with this particular work” (Opera now)
Mozart's comic opera tells the story of Belmonte, a Spanish Nobleman, who arrives at a Turkish palace in search of his beloved Konstanze who has become part of Pasha Selim's harem. Together Belmonte and Konstanze plan her escape. Filmed at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in 1988, Georg Solti conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House. Deon van der Walt and Inga Nielsen star. “Solti's effervescence and warmth inspire a splendid cast, especially Nielsen's unusually desperate, passionate Constanze and antagonists Moll and Watson. Richly comic and brilliant sung.” - BBC Music Magazine
Though back in his Budapest years he had coached "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" for performances conducted by no less a figure that Erich Kleiber, and the opera continued to form part of the everyday repertoire in Germany throughout Solti's career, Mozart's Singspiel nevertheless managed to elude him in theatre until he finally conducted it at Covent Garden in November 1987 - again in the company's first performance of the piece. (It is a rather surprising mark of Solti's Mozartian credentials that he gave the Royal Opera no fewer than three major company premieres of his operas.) Two years earlier he had completed his recording of the work in Vienna, with an outstanding cast at his disposal. Edita Gruberova's comprehensively excellent technique and musicality make her an eloquent Konstanze, Kathleen Battle is the vital, pristine Blonde, Gösta Winbergh a winning Belmonte, Heinz Zednik a charming Pedrillo, and Martti Talvela an Osmin of unusual power and menace.
Director David McVicar's original-period vision for this Mozartian gem allows its genius to speak for itself, offering a mesmerising, sensitive outstanding portrayal of Enlightenment-era fascination with the East that is both exquisitely acted and sung, featuring a Konstanze and a Belmonte sung with finesse and bravura and a sensationally voiced Osmin (The Guardian *****). Comic relief in Glyndebourne's brilliant production is provided by beautifully sung live-wire performances of Pedrillo and Blonde, and Robin Ticciati leads the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment through a restored, authentic rendition of the critical score with lovely fizz and poignant gravitas (The Independent).
“One of Böhm's last operatic assignments, he accompanies his fine cast with huge wisdom. Gruberova and Talvela are outstanding. August Everding's production, adventurous for 1980, is now a delight to look at” (BBC Music Magazine). “the performance has a winning glow, with an excellent cast of soloists. Edita Gruberova as Konstanze is at her freshest…[Grist's Blonde] is a charming and characterful assumption, most of all when confronting the powerful Osmin of Martii Tavela” (Penguin Guide).
Opera as never experienced before: a world-class cast, stylish haute couture outfits, the spectacular setting of Hangar-7 with more than 10 different locations and state-of-the-art technology. All of this cut together as a live opera film: a modern and unique production of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail one of the highlights of the Salzburg Festival 2013. In Adrian Marthaler's production, the whole Hangar-7 at Salzburg Airport becomes the backdrop for an extraordinary opera performance. The distinguished Camerata Salzburg is conducted by Hans Graf, one of the best Mozart connoisseurs. The star soloists including Desirée Rancatore (Konstanze), Javier Camarena (Belmonte), Kurt Rydl (Osmin) as well as famed Austrian actor Tobias Moretti as Bassa Selim guarantee a special treat. Even audiences that are not yet opera aficionados are set to be enthused by this novel approach.
Ivor Bolton conducts the 2006 Salzburg production of Mozart's exotic opera of sexual captivity.
Mozart satisfied the popular fascination with the East with this lively and exotic setting of the story of a Western woman held in the Pasha's harem. His opera (written for Vienna in 1782) was a hit with the Emperor and the public and retains its place in the public affection today.
Stefan Herheim's Salzburg production brings together a superb international cast led by two Americans - coloratura soprano Laura Aikin and tenor Charles Castronovo, alongside the well-loved Bavarian Bass Franz Hawlata. Ivor Bolton conducts the orchestra of the Mozarteum, Salzburg.
Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) is one of Mozart’s five great repertoire operas alongside Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte. A typical ‘Singspiel’, a form in which all the dialogue is spoken rather than sung, it was a great success during Mozart’s lifetime and to this day has not lost any of its magic.