Notes and Editorial Reviews
Martin Haselböck, cond; Isabel Monar (
); Markus Schäfer (
); Markus Brutscher (
); Christian Hilz (
); Vienna Academy O
cpo 777 281 (2 CDs: 94:06
Brian Michaels has made a performing
edition of Mozart’s unfinished singspiel,
. Using most of the music Mozart completed before abandoning the project, Michaels has added Mozart’s Symphony K 318 as an overture, and created a finale based on the Quartet K 479. The cast has been reduced to four singers and one speaking role; the character Osmin has been deleted. His aria, “Wer hungrig bei der Tafel sitzt,” is included as an appendix. The musical numbers follow their usual order for the first act, but there has been some reordering for the second act.
The plot is essentially the same story as
The Abduction from the Seraglio
, although here written with a styptic pencil. Some Europeans are held prisoner by the Turk, Soliman, and plan to escape. They are foiled in their attempt, condemned to death, but Soliman has an abrupt change of heart and frees them. The plot moves at incredible speed via some preposterous dialogue. One of the reasons Mozart abandoned the project was because he felt Johann Andreas Schachtner was writing too much dialogue; the dialogue (by Brian Michaels) used in this recording, is brief and utilitarian, with stunningly speedy developments and about-faces. Here’s an example of the risible plot advancement: Soliman sings to the captive lovers, whom he has just sentenced to death, “Your exertions are all in vain! . . . your pleading affronts me.” Then, he
says, “The depth of your feelings has converted my heart. You are free!” The young cast performs the opera with sincerity and a light touch that is rather engaging. If you want a recording of
that includes dialogue and you don’t mind the musical numbers being reordered, this one is a safe bet.
with dialogue features Edith Mathis, Peter Schreier, Ingvar Wixell, and Werner Hollweg. Bernhard Klee conducts the modern-instrument Staatskapelle Berlin. It also uses the Symphony K 218 as an overture. The Klee recording presents the musical numbers in their proper order, but ends rather abruptly. Soliman frees his prisoners and sends them on their way. They exit via March in D, K 335, No. 1 (no singing). The cast is better known and the performances are a bit more polished, but the cpo ending (lyrics affixed to the Quartet K 479) is a more satisfying conclusion.
Two recordings of
that offer just the musical material that I find worthy of recommendations are quite different. One is a live recording from Stuttgart in 1956. It is monophonic (very good sonics), and the Radio di Stoccarda orchestra plays on modern instruments. The cast includes Fritz Wunderlich and Maria Stader. The score is given reasonably complete, although both of the Melologos (spoken speeches with musical punctuations) have been omitted. The other is a digital recording using original instruments that includes the Melologos and only the music Mozart wrote expressly for
. Paul Goodwin conducts the Academy of Ancient Music and a cast led by Lynne Dawson and Hans Peter Blochwitz.
FANFARE: David L. Kirk
Works on This Recording
Zaide, K 344 (336b) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Markus Schäfer (Tenor),
Markus Brutscher (Tenor),
Isabel Monar (Soprano)
Written: 1779-1780; Salzburg, Austria
Length: 94 Minutes 6 Secs.
Notes: Audio Producer: Burkhard Schmilgun.
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