Monday, May 11, 2009


Singspiel in three acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, libretto by Gottlob Stephanie, after a play by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner. First performed, with great success, at the Court and National Theater, Vienna, July 16, 1782, it received numerous subsequent performances during Mozart's lifetime.

Constanza and her maid Blonde are held captive in the palace of the Turkish pasha Selim, who seeks to compel Constanza's love. Belmonte, her lover, and his servant Pedrillo, disguised as architect and gardener, attempt to outwit Osmin, the violent-tempered keeper of the palace grounds, and to rescue the girl from Selim. The Abduction miscarries, Belmonte is discovered to be the son of the pasha's bitterest enemy, and the four are condemned to die. With unexpected magnanimity, however, the pasha forgives them and sets them free.

In style the work is typical of the German Singspiel, or comic opera in which the action is carried by spoken dialogue while arias, ensembles and choruses present a variety of styles-popular and serious, German and Italian, comic and tragic. The pasha is exclusively a speaking role. The variety of singing styles demanded of Constanza, from lyric tenderness and phatos to the heroic bravura of her concerto aria, requires a soprano with utmost mastery of the singer's art. Similarly the comic-demonic Osmin, quires a basso of exceptional range and versatility of singing styles. The score is permeated with suggestions of Oriental color, mood, and atmosphere.

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