LANSDOWNE

SYMPHONY

ORCHESTRA

Mozart Abduction from the Seraglio Program Notes

For  those  who  have  seen  Peter  Shaffer’s  play  (or  the  subsequent  film),  Amadeus,  this  opera,  The  Abduction  from  the  Seraglio,dz  was  actually  the  work  at  which  the  emperor’s  criticism  too  many  notes,  was  allegedly  directed.    Mozart  had  not  been  long  in  Vienna,  and  composing  an  opera  for  the  Vienna  Burgtheater  under  the  direct  patronage  of  Emperor  Joseph  II,  was  a  great  opportunity  as  he  build  a  career  as  a  freelance  composer  and  performer,  following  the  patronage  of  the  Salzburg  court.  In  the  opera,  two  western  women  have  been  taken  by  pirates  and  sold  into  the  harem  of  the  Ottoman  Pasha.    The  Abduction  revolves  around  the  (eventually)  successful  effort  of  Belmonte,  a  Spanish  nobleman,  to  rescue  his  betrothed,  Konstanze.      The  classical  instrumentation,  with  addition  of  triangle,  cymbals  and  bass  drum,  lends  an  appealing  exoticism:  Turkish  styles  were  all  the  rage  in  the  Vienna  of Mozart’s  time,  as  Ottoman  empire’s  competition  with  Austrian  interests  became  more  apparent.