Die Entführung aus dem Serail

The Abduction from the Seraglio
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Opera Singspiel in three acts
Sung in German
Libretto: Johann Gottlieb Stephanie Jun
First performance: 1782 in Vienna

Mirko Roschkowski, Wolf Matthias Friedrich, Gloria Rehm, Ihsan Othmann, Statisterie
Photo: Karl Forster
Ihsan Othmann, Mirko Roschkowski, Statisterie
Photo: Karl Forster
Wolf Matthias Friedrich, Heather Engebretson, Statist, Ihsan Othmann
Photo: Karl Forster
Heather Engebretson
Photo: Karl Forster
Mirko Roschkowski, Heather Engebretson
Photo: Karl Forster
Ihsan Othmann
Photo: Karl Forster
Mirko Roschkowski, Ihsan Othmann
Photo: Karl Forster
Wolf Matthias Friedrich, Benedikt Nawrath, Gloria Rehm
Photo: Karl Forster
Mirko Roschkowski, Gloria Rehm, Wolf Matthias Friedrich, Benedikt Nawrath, Heather Engebretson, Statisterie
Photo: Karl Forster

He would write a German opera once the emperor gave him a thousand guilders: this was Mozart’s announcement to his father after Joseph II proclaimed German the official language of the land and elevated Vienna’s Burgtheater to national theatre status. A German musical comedy, also known as his “Turkish opera”, Mozart composed “Die Entführung aus dem Serial” in only a few months. Like the composer’s other operas, themes of love are central to the plot. The work was to become one of his greatest successes, alongside “Die Zauberflöte”. After escaping his dreaded service to the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, young Mozart set himself up in Vienna as a self-sufficient freelance artist. There, against his father’s will, he married Konstanze Weber, the woman who would become the inspiration for the role of the opera’s female protagonist.

Konstanze, who is betrothed to Belmonte, has been kidnapped by pirates, along with her English maid Blonde and Belmonte’s servant Pedrillo. Osmin, Bassa Selim’s bad-tempered servant – a man who wants to torture and kill every stranger who crosses his path – loses some of his crudeness in the presence of the confident Blonde. Meanwhile, Bassa Selim persistently woos Konstanze, gently at first, but later threatening to use force and unleash “tortures unrelenting” (“Martnern aller Arten”). After finally locating his fiancée, Belmonte (who has already made escape plans with Pedrillo) falls prey to jealousy and begins to question his partner’s loyalty. Even Pedrillo, who is Blonde’s sweetheart, finds himself wavering in his trust. The pressures of simultaneously being captive and courted, along with the power struggles between the capturers and their prisoners soon take their toll, throwing everyone and everything into emotional turmoil: feelings of reluctance, jealousy, distress, and despair, tears and even slaps in the face ensue – until the final reconciliation.
An unusual and interesting feature of the opera is that one of the central characters, Bassa Selim, was conceived exclusively as a speaking role. Around him, Mozart develops a tonal web of uniquely nuanced musical characterisation and poignant emotion, seasoned with Janissary choruses and a good dose of humour.


Conductor Konrad Junghänel
Original Production Uwe Eric Laufenberg
Stage Designer Matthias Schaller
Costume Designer Antje Sternberg
Lighting Designer Andreas Frank
Chorus Master Albert Horne
Dramaturgy Regine Palmai
Konstanze Gloria Rehm
Belmonte John Irvin
Blonde Katerina von Bennigsen
Osmin Wolf Matthias Friedrich
Pedrillo Julian Habermann
Bassa Selim Ihsan Othmann
Chor & Chorsolist:innen des Hessischen Staatstheaters Wiesbaden, Statisterie des Hessischen Staatstheaters Wiesbaden, Hessisches Staatsorchester Wiesbaden