Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio tells the story of a Konstanze and her maid Blonde, who find themselves in the Harem of Pasha Salim! Thrust into action, Belmonte, the gallant nobleman, assisted by his servant Pedrillo, attempt to rescue the women from the confines of their Turkish harem and sinister overseer, Osmin, who is determined to keep Konstanze for his master and have Blondechen for himself.
Synopsis: The Abduction from the Seraglio
Act I: A plaza before Selim’s palace, near the sea
A brief overture creates an effervescent mood and a Turkish identity; its main subject is a quotation from Belmonte’s air, “Hier soll ich dich denn sehen.” Konstanze and Blonde have been kidnapped by pirates, brought to Turkey, and sold to the Pasha. Belmonte, Konstanze’s lover, has followed her. He expresses the hope of a reunion (“Hier soll ich dich denn sehen”). He comes upon Osmin, the fat overseer, who expresses a cynical attitude toward all women (“Wer ein Liebchen hat gefunden”) and refuses to help Belmonte. The imminent arrival of the Pasha and Konstanze fill Belmonte with joy, since he is about to catch a glimpse of his beloved (“Konstanze! Konstanze! dich wiederzusehen”). In hiding, Belmonte hears Konstanze tell the Pasha she can never be his, since her heart belongs elsewhere (“Ach, ich liebte”). Enraged, the Pasha demands that she change her mind by the morrow.
Act II: The palace garden
Blonde describes the kind of man able to win her heart (“Durch Zärtlichkeit”), but he most certainly is not one like Osmin, whose amatory advances she repulses (“Ich gehe, doch rate ich dir”). After Konstanze arrives, she describes her agony at being separated from her beloved Belmonte (“Welcher Wechsel”). She remains defiant toward the Pasha even when he threatens her with torture if she refuses him (“Martern aller Arten”). Blonde now learns that Belmonte has a plan to rescue her mistress and herself. Her joy is unbounded (“Welche Wonne, welche Lust”). The first part of the plan consists of getting Osmin helplessly drunk. After this is accomplished, Belmonte and Konstanze exchange words of love (“Sieh die Freudenträne fliessen”), and Blonde and Pedrillo, a young Spanish servant in love with Blonde, join in to form a quartet.
Act III: Near the Pasha’s palace
Before aiding the escape of their women, Belmonte serenades Konstanze (“Ich baue ganz auf deine Stärke”), after which Pedrillo sings to Blonde (“Im Mohrenland gefangen war”). The four flee, are apprehended, and brought before the Pasha. Osmin is triumphant (“Ha! wie will ich triumphieren”). The Pasha at first upbraids Konstanze for trying to run away. Then he magnanimously forgives her and her lover and the two servants. Belmonte sings a hymn of praise to the generous Pasha (“Nie werd’ ich deine Huld verkennen”), and everybody takes up the joyous refrain.
Introduction to Opera
At 6:30 before evening performances and at 1:30 before matinees, a free talk will be presented in the California Theatre that will acquaint you with the composer’s life, his place in the history of opera, the story and its characters. If you are attending the 1:30 or 6:30 Introduction, you must be ticketed for that day’s performance; and your ticket must be torn as you enter the building.
A one-hour preview for each 2018-19 production is presented free of charge in the third floor rehearsal hall of the California Theatre, located at 345 S. First Street. Please enter via Market Street entrance and take elevator to third floor. Dates for previews are as follows:
- The Abduction from the Seraglio: September 4, 2018
- Pagliacci: November 6, 2018
- Moby-Dick: January 29, 2019
- Madama Butterfly: April 2, 2019
All previews begin at 12 noon.
Opera at Your Doorstep Lecture Series
Increase your understanding of opera and enjoy upcoming Opera San José performances all the more by attending one of long-time OSJ subscriber Bradford Wade’s FREE previews. The dates for The Abduction from the Seraglio lectures will be announced in August 2018. For more information about the Opera at Your Doorstep Lecture Series and/or to RSVP, email OperaAtYourDoorstep@gmail.com.
Performances supported, in part, by a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San Jose and a grant from the Packard Humanities Institute.