Music ReviewsOperaTom Williams

The Abduction From the Seraglio

Music by Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart
Libretto by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner,
Adapted by Johann Gottlieb Stephanie the Younger
Stage Director Chas Rader-Shieber
Conductor Sir Andrew Davis

Wondrous Score and Comedy Mark Mozart’s The Abduction From the Seraglio


Mozart’s 1782 comic opera, The Abduction from the Seraglio, highlights his genius with his fresh spirited score that contains local color from Turkish music containing cymbals, bass drums and the like.From beautiful arias to up-tempo marches and stirring anthems, Mozart’s opera moves from comic delight to deep emotions.
This romantic adventure deals with Konstanze (Erin Wall) a beautiful and spirited Spanish noble woman captured by Turkish pirates. Together with her feisty maid, Blonde (a last minute triumph debut by Angela Mannino), they end up in the harem of Pasha Selim (David Steiger) overseen by Osmin (Andrea Silvestrelli). Of course, the ladies’ trueloves—Belmonte (Matthew Polenzani) and Pedrillo (Steve Davislim) launch a plan to rescue their loves.

The Pasha falls in love with Konstanze. He commands her to love him. She refuses. Osmin and Blonde have several funny battles as the fierce overseer becomes wary of the little Blonde fire ball. Complications occur as the escape is thwarted. Will the Pasha seek blind revenge or benevolent wisdom? Guess.

I found Mozart’s music delightful, spirited and enduring. His rich harmonies and lush melodies work well with the libretti. Erin Wall reaches the stratosphere in her arias while Matthew Polenzani lands his four arias with deep emotions. Steve Davislim is the comic relief as Pedrillo. The commanding Andrea Silvestrelli’s booming baritone and comic chops worked to show Osmin’s tender heart. His bits with Angela Mannino—as Blonde—a last minute replacement for Aleksandra Kurzak was a triumph. Mannino has the voice and the acting talent to win over audiences.

There is so much to enjoy in this sweet, comic opera. From the rich Mozart score to the terrific vocals by the four leads, The Abduction from the Seraglio is a splendid evening of opera. If it is a Mozart opera, go see it and if it is produced by the Lyric Opera of Chicago, don’t miss it.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

At The Lyric Opera of Chicago.  20 N. Wacker, Chicago, IL, Call (312) 332-2244.  Tickets $44 – $68 – $197. Saturday March 7, 7:30 PM, Tuesday March 10, 7:30 PM, Friday March 13, 7:30 PM, Monday March 16, 7:30 PM, Thursday March 19, 2:00 PM, Sunday March 22, 2009 2:00 PM, Wednesday March 25, 2009 7:30 PM, Saturday March 28, 7:30 PM. Running time is 3 hours with 2 intermissions.

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