OPERA - MOZART - SERAGLIO
The Escape from the Harem
is difficult to bring off because it seems so elementary. For a start,
the plot is stock. Constanze and her English maid Blonde are
being held by their respective suitors the Pasha Selim and his chief
eunuch Osmin, when their Christian lovers, Belmonte and his servant
Pedrillo, sail to the rescue.
production team has to juggle a music hall plot with cultural insights,
political commentary and musical inventiveness/ uncertainties.
acquiring the talents to channel his genius and the genius to an untidy
over-supply needs taming, rather than highlighting in the Turkish parts
first new work in Vienna after his arrival in 1781, when he was saying
‘look at me!’. The score needed editing, as Mozart did himself in
five places, four in Act II
Mozart as a musical toy box from whom tunes flowed mindlessly.
occasion of the Emperor’s criticism: ‘Too many notes’. To which
Mozart replied: ‘As many as necessary’. It is too easy to dismiss
the monarch’s remark as ignorance when it was an asute ear’s
recognising that Mozart was showing off
When the Shah of Persia attended a
symphony concert during his visit to London in the summer of 1873, the
part he most enjoyed the tuning up. This anecdote captures, in reverse,
the difficulties that Mozart faced in faking Turkish
clatter within Classical elegance, barbaric passion versus cultivated
Summers as conductor
and ransom by Barbary pirates was as real for Mozart’s contemporaries
sailing the Mediterranean as it is for today’s tourists in Mindano.
The difference is that the West now imagines only terrorists and
fundamentalism, Mozart’s circle construed an Islam as a eductable in
to embrace the clash of civilisations without setting the story in
by Robert Kemp
Die Entfuhrung aus dem
enriching of the Singspiel
carried in speech and recitative and
Ransom as Pasha Selim is the ruler who is taught to overcome his desire
for vengeance, Mozart’s bow to the Enlightened Despot, Emperor Josef
II, for abolishing capital punishment.
Pasha knows fury but remains above the fray by never singing. If music
is passion and speech the voice of reason, why is the Turk the only one
not to sing?
Alexander as the eunuch Osmin (bass) broods in his opening aria with an
interior life and who
becomes a clown only when he imitates the Christian in drunkenness.
eunuch with the deepest base in opera because the bass was the
furtherest from the heavenly chorus. An earlier musical convention
conflicts with our sense of dramatic naturalism.
the beard of the prophet his rage crescendoes
by breaking the bounds, and ‘must forget itself’
passions must never disgust or offend and so keeps the key change within
Cole as The Constanze (soprano)
far too much to do in the Second act, three big numbers, for nearly half
a change’ 7.30mts
by ‘Every kind of torture’ (Martern aller Arten) 9.33mts
business in conflict with the vocal demands and the moral statements
is opera seria at its most
a break for broad comedy before she resumes ‘Oh Belmonte, my Love’
Matthews as her maid Blonde (soprano)
of Act II ‘What Bliss,
what pleasure’ [Welche Wonne
] has ‘rapid fire
the first aria, Belmonte (tenor) has to establish his credentials with a
note that would test the breath of a flautist James Galway.
until just after Vivat Bacchus,
at end of Act II when ‘If tears of joy’ [Wenn
der Freude Trauen] should be gorgeous but is often cut, or even have
bits transferred to replace ‘I build on your strength’ [Ich baue ganz] at start of Act III which is too taxing.
Raymond Martin as his servant Pedrillo (tenor) who is in love with
of Act II followed by high As in [Frisch
the threatened violation of ethnic barriers no crossing of the class
lines is contemplated. That comes later in Figaro
and Magic Flute.
survey of the musical, dramatic, theatrical and intellectual devices
stand against Italian influences to which he returned in The Magic Flute
therefore should be in the language of the audience
the piccolo there?
we get a march as well as the chorus for the entry?