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Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail / Mei, Ciofi, Trost

Mozart / John / Mei / Ciofi / Trost / Rydl
Release Date: 11/21/2006 
Label:  Tdk   Catalog #: OPEADSM  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Mehrzad MontazeriEva MeiPatrizia CiofiMarkus John,   ... 
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale OrchestraFlorence Maggio Musicale Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Bold and proudly seductive, this production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail proves a visual bonanza as well


MOZART Die Entführung aus dem Serail Zubin Mehta, cond; Markus John ( Bassa Selim ); Eva Mei ( Konstanze ); Patrizia Ciofi ( Blonde ); Rainer Trost ( Read more class="ARIAL12i">Belmonte ); Mehrzad Montazeri ( Pedrillo ); Kurt Rydl ( Osmin ); Maggio Musicale Fiorentino O & Ch TDK DVWW-OPEADSM (DVD: 136:00) Live: Florence 5/2002

Boldly, proudly seductive in its rendering of Mozart’s idiomatic Singspiel forms, this production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail proves a visual bonanza as well, the giant, hanging tapestries of its mise-en-scène akin to compound windows framing the action—and there is a lot of it—and affording a clearer view into the depths of a picaresque farce quite beyond the implications and limitations of the term.

Right from the overture, there is clearly something vested in the evening, an extra bit of liveliness, as Mehta practically pops out of his tuxedo, breathless as the camera cuts to him after a particularly rapt flourish, like the singers themselves, who shift across the boards with the most nimble finesse, as though their movements were cued by the camera itself, peeling away when a wider shot best serves the plot, or stepping squarely into the frame when one of this work’s core dictums must be aired.

The productions that suffer in their handling of Entführung tend to do so in coming off a bit foppish with the opera’s resolution (the 1980 Karl Böhm set is probably your best second choice after this reissue)—Bassa Selim’s pardon and benediction of the young lovers—but here we’re treated to something Britten’s Billy Budd would later mine, forgiveness and appeasement less for the sake of wrapping up a plot and more as testament to grace, genuine and untrammeled. Of course, to pull off grace, one must pull off Mozart’s ingenious construction at its crucial visual and musical levels so far as an audience is concerned, and Kurt Rydl’s Osmin attests from the get-go that there’s an extra ace in the deck on this night. The role’s difficult balance of bumbling, comical ineptitude and vocal dexterity is turned out as easy as you please—or so Rydl makes it look and sound, his appearance suggesting Victor French with two massive, tufty stalks of hair on each side of his otherwise bald head, as he devotes himself to stamping out a good time and young love, yet gamboling hither and yon, lusting, brawling, chastising, cursing, whining, and drunkenly belting out “Viva Bacchus” —wise words in times of trouble—while making nice with his stolid companion, a duff crocodile Captain Hook would have no problem vanquishing.

Osmin is the production’s lynchpin—and often its nexus of activity and exposition—but Eike Gramss’s direction fully brings out the work’s orientation towards a certain doubleness and blurred identities, or identities being subsumed within more familiar roles: two lovers growing together as one, the would-be cuckold becoming a champion of women’s rights, the captor moving towards ally. As such, there are a great deal of two-shot compositions, and the story’s relationships—which are further emphasized by complex duets with the fractured quality of one individual interrupting another’s conversation—move from foundations of individual pairs to an intricate mélange of humanity when considered as a whole. There is the somewhat roguish Belmonte (a rousing Rainer Trost in Errol Flynn mode) and his trusty Pedrillo, Pedrillo and his lover the fiery Blonde, Belmonte and his fair Konstanze, Bassa Selim and Osmin—head honcho and head warden—Blonde and Osmin (a forced relationship going nowhere), Bassa and Konstanze (both pairs signifying the sad, horrible gap between, in the one case, love offered and love unrequited, and in the second, love demanded, and love denied), Osmin and Pedrillo (over-the-top authority vs. lusty, prankish youth), and, finally, Bassa and Belmonte, which, by a weird double turn, includes the relationship between Belmonte and his vengeance-and-violence happy father back in his homeland, and the Bassa’s relationship with the same man, whose torments inspired his contrasting moral code of propriety and benevolence. In the few instances when everyone’s on stage, look out: there are themes and implications to overwhelm you, with every last vestige of one lover’s joy pitted against another’s sorrow, and justice—in matters of the heart, and conscience—becoming a reckoning force against which happiness is either realized or left unfilled, and moral rectitude, in either instance, is the abiding virtue.

FANFARE: Colin Fleming
Picture Format: 16:9
Sound Format: LPCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Running Time: 136 mins
Region Code: All
Booklet Languages: English, German, French
Recording Date: May 2002

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Works on This Recording

Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K 384 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Mehrzad Montazeri (Tenor), Eva Mei (Soprano), Patrizia Ciofi (Soprano),
Markus John (Spoken Vocals), Rainer Trost (Tenor), Kurt Rydl (Bass)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Venue:  Teatro Della Pergola, Florence, Italy 

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