19 Jul 2006

MOZART: Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Glyndebourne’s recent DVD release of it’s 1980 production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail is quite an exceptional performance of this particular work.

Headlined with excellent singers, including Valerie Masterson, the demure yet powerful Constanze, Lillian Watson, a particulary spry and comical Blonde, Ryland Davies, the famous Welsh tenor as Belmonte, James Hoback , the wide-eyed Pedrillo, and Willard White, the fantastic Jamaican bass as Osmin, this opera brilliantly shines.

Under the direction of Gustav Kuhn, the London Philharmonic beautifully underlines the action in an understated, yet compelling manner. Kuhn’s tempos keep the comic action light and perfectly accelerated. William Dudly, the designer, creates the typical Turkish harem setting, but the sheer size and intricate detail of each piece is visually compelling. As far as the stage direction, Peter Wood chose the more traditional route, with tepid blocking and stagnant emotional drive. However, the production draws on the comic panache of both Watson and Hoback to bring freshness to the show.

It is exciting that Glyndebourne chose to release this production onto DVD, not only because of the high quality performers, but because it is certainly wonderful to see a more traditional production in order to truly appreciate Mozart’s original intentions for the work.

Sarah Hoffman