The Abduction from the Seraglio

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)

Information on the piece

A musical comedy in three acts, KV 384
Libretto by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner, adapted by Gottlieb Stephanie the Younger
World premiere 16th July 1782 at the Hoftheater, Vienna
Premiere at the Deutsche Oper Berlin: 17th June 2016

Recommended from 16 years on

2 hrs 45 mins / 1 interval

In German language with German and English surtitles

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance

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About the performance

The realisation that THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO was a more significant work than the “musical comedy” label suggested was not long in coming. Not only did the commissioner of the piece, Emperor Joseph II, comment with some puzzlement after the 1784 premiere in Vienna that there were “too many notes”; three years later Goethe, too, responded to the success of Mozart’s piece by questioning his own dabblings in German-language musical comedies. ABDUCTION soon came to be seen as the primordial German opera, the first successful attempt to create a qualitatively comparable German alternative to the affective language of the Italian opera. This is especially true for the emotional depth of the characters. Setting the story in an alien, exotic country, which severs Belmonte and Konstanze from all external social influences, Mozart is able to express musically the fundamental question of interpersonal relations: am I so in love that I want to spend the rest of my life with this other person? And do I know myself well enough to commit to the relationship with a clean conscience?

ABDUCTION has inspired a string of accomplished directors to stage the work, especially as its interplay of spoken dialogue and music makes it more tolerant of textual adaptations than through-composed operas are. One of Europe’s most exciting and uncompromising theatre directors came to the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he had chosen THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO as the piece with which to make his debut in the genre of musical theatre. Argentinian Rodrigo García has been feted internationally for plays such as “Gólgota Picnic”.

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