The Israel Philharmonic keeps its tradition of making the last concert of the season special by presenting a semi-staged production of Mozart's comic opera The Abduction from the Seraglio (Harem).
The opera premiered in Vienna exactly 225 years ago (July 16, 1782) and was an instant success. Mozart wrote to his father that the theater was packed for the opera's premiere. Even the Emperor Joseph, who commissioned The Abduction, conceded that the opera was indeed something new, although he reportedly opined that the opera had too many notes. "Just cut a few and it will be perfect," he reportedly said. Needless to say, Mozart did not take his advice nor will Zubin Mehta when he takes the podium.
The opera - written in the German Singspiel style, using dialogue that is spoken rather than sung - opens with sounds of extra percussion and high piccolos reminiscent of the military Janissary bands of Turkey. Mozart intended that the music captures not only the feeling of the Turkish harem but also the "very heartbeats of the emotions of his characters."
As the opera opens, Belmonte has traveled from Spain to rescue his beloved Constanze and her maid Blonde, who have been kidnapped by pirates and sold to the Turkish Pasha Selim's harem. Belmonte's servant, Pedrillo, the sweetheart of Blonde, is also part of the captured crew.
"The Abduction has always been a success with IPO audiences," according to Avi Shoshani, secretary general of the IPO. "The music is charming and delightful; the singers, chosen by Zubin Mehta, have worked with him in the past; and the music will only bring happiness, which is a delightful way to end the season."
The cast features Ingrid Kaiserfeld as Constanze and Hendricke Van Kerckhove as Blonde on July 14 and 16; Chen Reiss as Blonde on July 10, 19, 22, 25; tenor Joerg Schneider as Belmonte; tenor Andreas Scheidegger as Pedrillo; bass Kurt Rydl as Osmin.
Mann Auditorium, 1-700-70-30-30, NIS 125/350; with Hebrew surtitles.