A new production for Festival 2015
‘Die Entführung has knocked everything else sideways,’ wrote Goethe of this landmark work by the 26-year-old Mozart. A popular Sing spiel in which tuneful Viennese comedy meets serious Enlightenment philosophy, the piece is often cited as his first fully mature stage work.
Like many other contemporary works, Die Entführung was inspired by the 18th-century vogue for all things Eastern after the Ottoman Empire’s failed Siege of Vienna in 1683. The plot concerns the attempt of the Spanish nobleman Belmonte to rescue his beloved Konstanze from the seraglio of the Pasha Selim in Turkey. Though the opera reflects the 18th-century European view of ‘the Orient’ as strange, opulent and dissolute, its humane and surprising resolution defies all stereotypes and highlights the keen contemporary pertinence of this startlingly deep masterwork.
Die Entführung features some of Mozart’s most spectacularly virtuosic vocal music, particularly for Konstanze, composed for the celebrated Austrian soprano Caterina Cavalieri: Mozart wrote, ‘I have sacrificed Konstanze’s aria a little to the flexible throat of Mlle Cavalieri.’ In Die Entführung , Mozart also evoked the brilliant flute- and percussion-laden sound of Turkish military marching bands, as he had done in earlier works like the famous Rondo alla turca from his A-Major Piano Sonata, K. 331/300i.
Music director Robin Ticciati conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, carrying on Glyndebourne’s distinguished history with Die Entführung which began with its seminal 1935 production. This new production is directed by David McVicar, creator of such triumphant Glyndebourne productions as Giulio Cesare and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg .
The luminous soprano Sally Matthews will return to Glyndebourne as Konstanze, as will Edgaras Montvidas after his Festival 2014 triumph in Eugene Onegin , while the German bass Tobias Kehrer, Norwegian soprano Mari Eriksmoen and American tenor Brenden Gunnell make their Glyndebourne debuts as Osmin, Blonde and Pedrillo.
Photo: (Anonymous) Odalisques in a Harem, Constantinople, Lithograph with clay plate, C. 1880. akg-images
‘Mesmerising, sensitive, at times troublingly erotic, the whole thing forces us to rethink a remarkable work. Outstanding.’
‘Finely conducted by Robin Ticciati, McVicar’s production of Mozart’s Turkish comedy is a vocal and visual treat.’
‘How should companies be staging Mozart in the modern era? Come and see.’
Listen to the Die Entführung podcast:
Presenter: Katie Derham. Mozart letters read by Peter Marinker. Produced by Katherine Godfrey for Whistledown Productions for the 2015 Glyndebourne Festival. Music courtesy of Decca Classics.
Sung in German with English supertitles
Supported by a Syndicate of Individuals led by Michael Javett in memory of Ingrid Maggs
Filming supported by Dunard Fund
Edited by Gerhard Croll (Neue-Mozart Ausgabe) Published by Bärenreiter-Verlag,Kassel, represented by Faber Music, London
Cast and creative team
Conductor Robin Ticciati
Director David McVicar
Designer Vicki Mortimer
Choreographer Andrew George
Lighting Designer Paule Constable
Belmonte Edgaras Montvidas
Osmin Tobias Kehrer
Pedrillo Brenden Gunnell
Pasha Selim Franck Saurel
Konstanze Sally Matthews
Blonde Mari Eriksmoen
Klaas, a sea captian Jonas Cradock
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Please be aware that there has been a change to the timings of Die Entführung aus dem Serail. All performances will begin half an hour earlier than originally announced but they will still finish at the same time. The below performance schedule shows the updated times.
Date Start Interval Finish Train departs Victoria Sat 13 Jun 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Wed 17 Jun 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Sat 20 Jun 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Wed 24 Jun 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Sat 27 Jun 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Tue 30 Jun 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Fri 3 Jul 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Wed 8 Jul 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Tue 14 Jul 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Thu 16 Jul 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Sun 19 Jul 2015 3:35pm 6:05pm* 8:25pm 12.47pm Wed 22 Jul 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Sat 25 Jul 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Fri 31 Jul 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Sun 2 Aug 2015 3:35pm 6:05pm* 8:25pm 12.47pm Fri 7 Aug 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm Mon 10 Aug 2015 4:50pm 7:20pm* 9:40pm 1.46pm
The young Spanish noblewoman Konstanze has been abducted by pirates together with her English maid Blonde, and Pedrillo, valet to her betrothed, Belmonte. Landing on the shores of Turkey, they have been sold as slaves to Pasha Selim. Originally a Spanish subject himself, he has become a ‘renegade’, a convert and prospered in Turkey. He has fallen in love with Konstanze. Pedrillo has smuggled letters out to his master and Belmonte has sailed from Spain to try to rescue them.
Finding himself outside the country house of the Pasha, Belmonte encounters the surly overseer Osmin, who answers his questions with belligerent suspicion before chasing him off. Pedrillo, now working in the Pasha’s gardens is in love with Blonde but she has been given as a slave to Osmin. The two men jealously loathe each other and Osmin makes it clear the fate he believes Pedrillo deserves.
Left alone, Pedrillo spies Belmonte. Master and servant are overjoyed to see each other again and Pedrillo quickly concocts a plan to gain Belmonte admission to the palace. Belmonte is, though horrified to learn that Konstanze is beloved by the Pasha, who seeks to make her one of his wives.
The Pasha arrives with Konstanze, who is sad and pensive. Selim assures her that he will never seek to force her love but is hurt and angry when she confesses her love for Belmonte. He gives her one more day to consider.
Pedrillo introduces Belmonte to the Pasha as an architect who hopes to gain employment in the palace. Selim invites him to stay and talk in due course. Osmin appears and tries to bar their way but the two men push him aside and enter the palace grounds.
Blonde does her best to keep the amorous Osmin at bay. As an Englishwoman, she refuses to accept her condition of slavery, to Osmin’s huge frustration.
Konstanze thinks sadly of Belmonte but the time allotted her by the Pasha is up. Her refusal to love him makes the Pasha explode in anger, threatening her with violence. Konstanze is defiant and Selim is confounded once more.
Pedrillo and Blonde steal a few moments together and he tells her of the escape plans. She is overjoyed and rushes off to tell her mistress. Pedrillo drugs some wine and persuades Osmin to drink with him. The sleeping draught soon takes effect and Osmin is safely put out of the way. In the utmost secrecy, the lovers finally are re-united. The plans are quickly discussed but joy soon gives way to doubt as Belmonte and Pedrillo ask questions about their respective lovers’ fidelity. The two women are wounded and angry. The men beg forgiveness and peace and joy are restored.
Late at night outside the palace, Belmonte’s Dutch sea captain Klaas helps with the ladders for the escape. As he waits for the appointed hour, Belmonte thinks of Konstanze with rapture. Pedrillo gives the signal with a serenade. Konstanze descends from her window and she and Belmonte make for the harbour but when Pedrillo tries to rescue Blonde, Osmin suddenly appears and they are discovered. Guards drag Belmonte and Konstanze before him and Osmin gloats in bloodthirsty triumph.
The Pasha is roused by the alarm. Belmonte reveals his identity and offers to pay a ransom; his family is wealthy and noble and his father’s name is Lostados, the Commandant of the Spanish colony in Oran. Selim recognises Belmonte as the son of his sworn enemy, who once destroyed his happiness and drove him from his homeland. He leaves to consider his revenge. Belmonte and Konstanze resolve to die with courage together.
Selim returns and delivers his judgement. He will not stoop to the level of Belmonte’s father. All four are given their freedom and he renounces his claim on Konstanze. Osmin rushes away in rage. The mercy and humanity of the Pasha are praised and the lovers leave.
Photos: Richard Hubert Smith