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Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791

German Singspiel in three acts KV 384
Libretto by Johann Gottlieb Stephanie the Younger
First performed July 16 1782, Burgtheater, Vienna

Co-production with the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels
(premiere of production in Frankfurt: October 19 2003)
Sung in German with German surtitles
ca. 3 hours 30 minutes, including 2 intervals
an introductory talk, in German, begins in the upstairs foyer 30 minutes before every performance  

Conductor Sebastian Weigle / Nikolai Petersen
Konstanze Kateryna Kasper / Irina Simmes
Blonde Gloria Rehm / Nora Friedrichs
Belmonte Martin Mitterrutzner
Pedrillo Michael Porter / Peter Marsh
Osmin Andreas Bauer
Bassa Selim Christoph Quest

Christof Loy read Mozart's Singspiel in his 1999 Brussels production (which has been in Frankfurt's repertoire since 2003) simply, as a story about the relationships of two couples who find themselves becoming involved in love triangles. Konstanze is fascinated by Bassa Selim, who loves her in a completely different way to her fiancé Belmonte; her fidelity is put sorely to the test. Blonde, her maid,  is not totally immune to Osmin's attempts to woo her, so it is not completely straightforward for her to choose Pedrillo in the end. It is a psychological study of lovers that stands in the foreground of this »Entführung aus dem Serail«. The initial delight they all feel at seeing one another again at the end of Act 2 is short lived. A chasm of uncertainty opens up, with the men suddenly seriously doubting their women. But Mozart's all reconciling music music helps to patch up the rift and, in the end, Bassa's magnanimous renunciation makes a, nearly complete, happy end possible.

Constanze, her English maid Blonde, and her fiancé Pedrillo, were taken prisoner by pirates who sold them in Turkey to Bassa Selim as slaves. Pedrillo has managed to get word to Constanze’s betrothed, Belmonte, who is on his way to try and secure her freedom. Act 1 At his first attempt to enter Bassa Selim’s palace Belmonte is threatened and chased away by Osmin. Pedrillo has to put up with Osmin’s tirades about everything „foreign“, on a daily basis. When he approaches the palace again Belmonte meets his servant, who tries to make clear to Belmonte what deadly risks they run with the planned abduction. Belmonte throws all caution in the wind. He is too excited about seeing Constanze again. Selim and Constanze are alone. The Bassa feels deeply drawn to her but does not want to force her to be his wife. She tries to explain why she must refuse his advances: thoughts of her beloved at home weigh heavily on her heart. Full of understanding, Selim postpones further argument over the matter to the following day. Pedrillo introduces Belmonte to the Bassa as an architect and Belmonte gains entry to the palace. Osmin tries to stand in the way but is mocked by Belmonte and Pedrillo. Act 2 Osmin loves Blonde. She needs all her strength to resist his advances. They argue when he tries to demand his right, as her master, to force her to love him. She furiously fends him off. Constanze is anxious about the forthcoming meeting with the Bassa. When Bassa becomes more impatient and threatens force if she refuse him again, she declares that she is resolved to die rather than be untrue to her lover. Pedrillo tells Blonde about Belmonte’s arrival. Constanze and she will be abducted, this very night. Before this happens it is arranged that Constanze and Belmonte meet in the garden. Meanwhile the christian, Pedrillo, manages to tempt the muslim, Osmin, to drink. A sleeping draught is mixed in the wine, which should render him harmless for a few hours. Belmonte and Constanze see each other again. Tears of happiness, but also feelings of anxiety colour their meeting. A dark shadow looms when both men cast doubt over the faithfulness of their brides, but the girls forgive them. Belmonte and Constanze, Pedrillo and Blonde renounce jealousy and let love live. Act 3 All are waiting nervously for midnight. The abduction backfires. Osmin, awake earlier than envisaged, has arrested both couples and informs the Bassa about the happenings during the night. Selim realizes that Belmonte is the son of his one time deadly enemy and threatens terrible revenge. Fear of death draws Constanze and Belmonte together. They all face execution. But the Bassa has second thoughts. He grants them their freedom and takes his leave from Constanze.