The Abduction from the Seraglio
Mission: Seraglio. Suave and sophisticated secret agent Belmonte undertakes a mission of exotic espionage to rescue the love of his life (and fellow secret agent), Konstanze, enslaved by the villainous Pasha Selim. Backed in the mission by agents Pedrillo and Blonde, Belmonte battles to outwit the vindictive vizier and save the world. But will it be enough?
Mozart is for all times, and director Michael Cavanagh’s wild and witty take on Abduction from the Seraglio takes us back to the style and glamour of the 60s. What happens when James Bond meets I Dream of Jeannie?
Join Edmonton Opera on a cold winter’s night for action, mystique, seductive notes, wonderful arias, great fun and plenty of martinis.
Edmonton Opera - shaken, not stirred.
Mozart The Abduction from the Seraglio
Please allow for extra travel time to the Jubilee Auditorium.
COLIN AINSWORTH, Belmonte
Mr. Ainsworth’s Opening Night performance is sponsored by Barbara Poole
DEAN ELZINGA, Osmin
Mr. Elzinga’s Opening Night performance is sponsored by Ed Wiebe and Marcia Johnson
LAWRENCE WILIFORD, Pedrillo
Mr.Wiliford’s Opening Night performance is sponsored by The Solera Foundation
DAVID MCNALLY, Pasha Selim
Mr. McNally’s Opening Night performance is sponsored by Marguerite Trussler
CHARLOTTE CORWIN, Konstanze
Ms. Corwin’s Opening Night performance is sponsored by Francis Price
CARLA HUHTANEN, Blonde
Ms. Huhtanen’s Opening Night performance is sponsored by Frederic and Alma Gojmerac
I've wanted to do something fun and fresh with Abduction From the Seraglio for quite some time. I believe the piece lends itself to an unusual approach. I'm also sure that the genius who wrote it would approve.
The tricky thing about updating traditional operas is to make sure you don't change the piece into something it was not intended to be. Our new treatment takes it's cue from, and keeps the focus on, the best aspect of the piece: the sublime music. It is daring, fun, cheeky, glorious and uplifting but with a sense of mischief, too. Combine this with a plot that includes a rescue mission, an exotic locale, danger, heartache and a narrow escape, and our setting works perfectly. I think Mozart would have no problem with any of it. He was fond of topical references, inside jokes and poking fun of himself and others. The "Turkish" setting of the original was a nod to the trendy: things middle eastern were all the rage across Europe at the time. We are simply following his example by piggybacking on the success of the TV show Mad Men, classic James Bond films and the like. And, while we have no nostalgia for the 18th C, the early 60's is another matter. The era seemed to be (for many of us) a time of chivalry, clearly defined heroes and villains, and considerably more freedom in the - ahem - pursuit of happiness.
In order to make sense of it all, I've rewritten the dialogue. This is a long-standing tradition in the world of opera and operetta. Again, I've tried to remain true to the originators' intentions, if not in the specifics of the story then certainly in terms of character traits and message. To keep us all on our toes I've incorporated references to various eras, old and modern. Since a tongue-in-cheek twisting of the expected is the order of the day, there are also moments when the traditional boundaries of theatre - and the theatre itself, even - come tumbling down. Mostly, the intention is to be very serious about not taking ourselves too seriously.
I believe Mozart would heartily approve. He'd laugh along in his slim-fitting tux while sipping a Manhattan, cigarette in hand. Yes, indoors. Just like the old days.
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"It's a love story dressed up in mod '60s accoutrements, with unexpected nods to social networking sites and Cheap Trick lyrics, among other things, but the composer's gorgeous music and the vocal performances remain the highlight. Itís at times jarring to see such a silly premise occasionally gather weight during the arias, but it somehow works."
"You want a real, romantic Valentine's treat? You couldn't do better than The Abduction from the Seraglio. It reminds me of those tasty almond meringues you can buy at the Duchess Bakery -- light, crisp, sweet, utterly insubstantial and just a little bit nutty. Even if you strip away the deep silliness of the staging - Mozart's original themes of love, redemption and forgiveness come shining through."