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.