Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782) – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Constanze Mozart (née Weber) 1782

When Die Entführung aus dem Serail ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio‘ was composed in 1781, Amadeus Mozart fell in love with Constanze Weber despite his father’s objection to their courting as recorded in the official Mozart Timeline and depicted in the Amadeus film. Coincidentally the German libretto for this 3 act singspiel concerns the attempt of the hero Belmonte, assisted by his servant Pedrillo, to rescue his beloved Konstanze from the seraglio of Pasha Selim. The work premiered on 16 July 1782 at the Vienna Burgtheater, with the composer conducting.

As stated in wikipedia: ‘The company that first sponsored the opera was the Nationalsingspiel (“national Singspiel“), a pet project (1778–1783) of the Austrian emperor Joseph II. The Emperor had set up the company to perform works in the German language (as opposed to the Italian opera style widely popular in Vienna).
This is also depicted in the Amadeus film.

Upon receiving the libretto on 29 July 1781. Mozart set to work on the libretto at a very rapid pace, finishing three major numbers in just two days! A letter to his father Leopold indicates he was excited about the prospect of having his opera performed in Vienna and worked enthusiastically on his project. Mozart even decided to play a major role in the shaping of the libretto, insisting that Stephanie make changes for dramatic and musical effect.

The opera was a huge success. The first two performances brought in the large sum of 1200 florins. The work was repeatedly performed in Vienna during Mozart’s lifetime, and throughout German-speaking Europe.

The video I have attached below from Die Entführung aus dem Serail is from the Amadeus film soundtrack (from 2:10 in the video). This is my favourite scene of Tom Hulce’s performing as Amadeus – the composer. The amalgamation of this gargantuan piece of music set to the fiery imagery of Mozart letting loose like an unbridled Pirate is one for the ages, at least for me.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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