The Abduction From The Seraglio

Belmonte, with his sidekick Pedrillo, sets off to Turkey to rescue his betrothed Konstanze. The frothy caper plays out in hilarious, action-packed circumstances wherein our heroes and heroines must outwit their captors, particularly the fiendish Osmin, overseer of the Pasha’s harem. The Abduction from the Seraglio is a farcical, colorful romance, and was one of Mozart’s first successes as a composer.

Music director Arthur Fagen will conduct. The comedic genius Kevin Burdette (The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance) will return to Atlanta as Osmin. The Abduction from the Seraglio was last seen in Atlanta in 2006.

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Production sponsored by Gas South

PerfBanner_Abduction

Mangia

All Performances: Pre-show fine dining
$55 for Sat, Tues, Fri dinner
$42.50 for Sun brunch

Opera’s Night Out

Young professionals enjoy a pre-show cocktail hour + ticket to the show
$40 for Under 40

Groups

All Performances: Save up to 25%
For groups of 10 or more
Contact: groups@atlantaopera.org

Get the Feeling

Synopsis

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Librettist: Bretzner/Stephanie
Premiere Date: Tuesday, July 16, 1782

Act I

Belmonte, a young Spanish nobleman, is searching for his beloved Constanze. She, her maid Blonde and Belmonte’s servant, Pedrillo, have been captured by pirates. As the opera opens, Belmonte is on the seaside plaza outside the palace of Pasha Selim, where he thinks Constanze is being held captive.

He meets Osmin, the Pasha’s overseer, who confirms that Belmonte has come to the right place, but Osmin also makes it plain that he is not welcome. Osmin is in love with Blonde, but she is in love with Pedrillo who is now serving as the Pasha’s head gardener. After Osmin leaves, Pedrillo finds Belmonte, and the two scheme to rescue the two young women.

Constanze and the Pasha return from a boat ride and are greeted by a chorus of Janissaries (Turkish soldiers). The Pasha has fallen in love with Constanze and bemoans the fact that she has remained cold and refuses to marry him. She still loves Belmonte and sings of her feelings for him. After she leaves to return to the seraglio (the part of an Asian palace where the women of the house live), Pedrillo introduces Belmonte to the Pasha as a visiting architect. Osmin tries to prevent the two men from entering the palace, but they brush him aside.

Act II

Osmin keeps trying to force Blonde to love him, but she wants nothing to do with him and tells him so. The Pasha tries to convince Constanze to marry him. He threatens her with torture if she refuses. Constanze replies that she would rather die.

Pedrillo tells Blonde that Belmonte is in the palace and that the two men have arranged to rescue Constanze and her that night. She leaves to tell her mistress, and Pedrillo starts the plan off by trying to convince Osmin to join him in drinking wine. He’s so successful that Osmin staggers off to go to sleep. Belmonte and Constanze are reunited and later joined by Blonde and Pedrillo. Both men express doubts about the faithfulness of the two women, but are soon convinced that they are mistaken. The young women forgive them for their doubts, and the rescue is scheduled for that night.

Act III

At midnight, Belmonte and Pedrillo arrive outside the seraglio’s walls with ladders. Belmonte succeeds in rescuing Constanze, but Pedrillo’s singing wakes Osmin, and he intercepts them before Pedrillo and Blonde can escape. Belmonte and Constanze are brought back by palace guards, and Osmin is overjoyed to think that, at last, they are in his power.

When the Pasha arrives to question the prisoners, he discovers that Belmonte’s father is his old enemy. As he thinks about what to do with them, Belmonte and Constanze declare their eternal love for each other, even in the face of torture and possible death.

The Pasha returns. He has decided to be merciful, even after finding out that Belmonte is the son of his enemy. Both young couples are allowed to return to Spain. Osmin is outraged and rushes off the stage. The others express their gratitude to the Pasha. The opera ends as they leave for Spain and the chorus sings of the Pasha’s great generosity.

Courtesy of Washington National Opera

Characters & Cast

Belmonte

a young Spanish nobleman

Ben Bliss

American tenor Ben Bliss is a 2016 recipient of the Martin E. Segal award at Lincoln Center, awarded by the Metropolitan Opera, and recently released his debut EP, “Overture.”

Konstanze

Belmonte’s lover

Sarah Coburn

Soprano Sarah Coburn captivates international audiences and will perform this season with Opera Santa Barbara, Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, and the Choral Arts Society of Washington at the Kennedy Center, amongst others.

Osmin

The Pasha’s overseer

Kevin Burdette

American bass Kevin Burdette has already impressed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic with his mellifluous voice and strongly dramatic characterizations.

Pedrillo

Belmonte’s servant

Matthew Grills

This season, Grills makes his Seattle Opera debut as Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper as a member of the company’s ensemble, amongst other performances.

Blonde

Konstanze’s maid

Katrina Galka

This season, Galka will return to Portland and Arizona operas, as well as joining the Las Vegas Philharmonic for Handel’s Messiah.

Newbie Guide

The Opera Experience

Operas on our mainstage are grand theatrical experiences. You can always expect the unexpected, and for our productions to be presented at the highest quality.

Supertitles

Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will be escorted to the nearest late seating area. At intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions & Parking at Cobb Energy Center

Enhance Your Visit

Mangia!

Our elegant three course dining at the Cobb Energy Center is seated on the mezzanine before every performance. Please make reservations 5 business days prior to the performance.

Reserve Mangia!

Pre-Performance Talk

Learn about the history of the opera and the composer with board member and opera aficionado, Carter Joseph. One hour prior to curtain. Free with your ticket!

Learn More

Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Visit our Study Guides Library

How is an Opera Staged?

Auditions

Actors first audition for roles up to a year in advance, or for more experienced artists, directors also invite them to play a role.

Rehearsals

Most of the rehearsals are held in our rehearsal hall, and not the actual theatre. The conductor begins orchestra rehearsals about a week and half before opening night. They have four rehearsals with the conductor, and then the singers are added into the mix.

Sets & Costumes

The Atlanta Opera Costume Shop alters the costumes to fit our singers. Sometimes they do have to make costumes if there aren’t enough, or if there is nothing that fits, etc. Once the sets are in place, the cast begins rehearsing at the theatre. The Opera production staff works with staff at the theatre to get all of the lighting and technical aspects of the production together.

Sitzprobe & Dress Rehearsal

The orchestra comes together with the singers in a special rehearsal called sitzprobe. There are no costumes during the sitzprobe, this is mainly to hear the voices with the orchestra. There is a piano dress rehearsal, when the singers rehearse in full costume for the first time so they can get used to wearing them. Finally, all of the pieces are put together for two full dress rehearsals leading up to opening night.

Composer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756 – 1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria on January 26, 1756. Though he did not begin to walk until he was three years old, Mozart’s talent for music soon became apparent. At the age of four, he could reproduce on the piano a melody played to him; at five, he could play the violin with perfect intonation; and at six he composed his first minuet.

As the young Mozart’s reputation grew, his father Leopold realized the financial rewards that could arise from increased exposure of his son’s talents. From that time on, Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl spent much of their childhood traveling through Europe. The rulers of Europe and England were astounded by Wolfgang’s abilities of composition, improvisations, and sight reading. While the public admired Wolfgang for his talents, they disapproved quite heartily of his father, saying extensive voyages and frequent exhibitions were no life for the child.

Mozart become the concertmaster for the Archbishop of Salzburg in 1771. After spending frustrating and unproductive years serving the Archbishop, Mozart resigned. He promptly moved to Vienna where his creative energies flourished. There Mozart met and was influenced by Hayden, who came to love him like his own son. He told Leopold Mozart, “I consider your son to be the greatest composer I have ever heard.”

Read More

In 1782, Mozart married Constanze Weber, the sister of his long-time love Aloysia. His father disapproved of his son’s choice of bride and lifestyle. The newlyweds lived the carefree gypsy life constantly moving from house to house, spending money frivolously.

In 1784, Lorenzo Da Ponte presented Mozart the libretto for The Marriage of Figaro  and a long collaboration between the two began. Figaro  premiered in 1786 to an enthusiastic crowd. The two continued their initial success with another: Don Giovanni , which received its premiere in Prague in 1787. Later that same year, Wolfgang’s father died, leaving the 31-year old alone for the first time.

The success of a revival of Figaro  in Vienna led to a commission from the Emperor Joseph II for Cosi fan tutte , again with Da Ponte, the premiere of which was a qualified success. In 1790, with the death of Joseph II, Mozart found himself out of favor with the new regime and plagued by his creditors. He was helped by Emanuel Shikander, who commissioned The Magic Flute  for his theater. Another commission came at this time, for La Clemenza Di Tito , but it did not help his situation, as it received mixed reviews.

Mozart’s health waned and it was during this illness that he received his last commission. A mysterious stranger requested a requiem mass from the composer. Depressed and delirious, Mozart became convinced that the Requiem was for his own death. In 1791, Wolfgang’s pupil Sussmayer completed the work, as the composer was too ill. He was given a pauper’s funeral and was buried in an unmarked grave, in silence and unattended.

Courtesy Arizona Opera Virtual Opera House

Mozart

Conductor

Arthur Fagen

Arthur Fagen has been the Carl and Sally Gable music director at The Atlanta Opera since 2010, and continues to be in great demand as a conductor of symphony and opera both in Europe and the United States. He is a regular guest at the most prestigious opera houses, concert halls, and music festivals at home and abroad, and his career has been marked by a string of notable appearances including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Staatsoper Berlin, Munich State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the New York City Opera.

A former assistant of Christoph von Dohnanyi (Frankfurt Opera) and James Levine (Metropolitan Opera), he served as principal conductor in Kassel and Brunswick, as chief conductor of the Flanders Opera of Antwerp and Ghent, as music director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the conducting staff of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Fagen was born in New York and studied with Laszlo Halasz, Max Rudolf (Curtis Institute) and Hans Swarowsky. Fagen has an opera repertoire of more than 75 works and has recorded for Naxos and BMG. The recent Naxos recording of Martinůs works was awarded Editor’s Choice in the March 2010 issue of Gramophone Magazine.

Image_AFagenAction

Director

Chris Alexander

Chris Alexander, born in Provo, Utah, lives in Germany. Founder of the Bremer Shakespeare Company, Alexander has directed more than 60 plays in Germany and Switzerland. Alexander’s European opera productions include Viaggio a Reims; Tannhäuser; and Otello in Mannheim; La Cenerentola in Munich; Barbiere di Siviglia and Battistelli’s Prova d’orchestra in Düsseldorf; Carmen and Queen of Spades in Bern; Der Fliegende Holländer in Linz; and La bohème in Hannover.

Alexander made his U.S. debut at Seattle Opera directing Boris Godunov. He returned for many shows including Ariadne auf Naxos, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Porgy and Bess, for which he won Artist of the Year awards. Alexander directed Turandot, The Maid of Orleans, and L’Italiana in Algeri in San Francisco, Ariadne auf Naxos and Werther in Washington, Carmen in Dallas, and Die Meistersinger, Der Rosenkavalier, and Fidelio in Cincinnati. Upcoming productions are Peter Grimes for Indiana University and Die Zauberflöte for Seattle Opera.

Alexander_Chris2