The Abduction from the Seraglio: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1782)

Mozart: The Abduction from the Seraglio

★★★★

Die Entführung aus dem Serail 

(Glyndebourne, directed by Sir David McVicar, seen at the Proms, 14 August 2015)

This post draws on two encounters with the same production: the live broadcast from Glyndebourne earlier this summer, and the pared down staged version presented at the Proms on 14 August. As has happened so often in recent months, I’d gone to see Seraglio without really knowing very much about it at all. I knew it was by Mozart and I knew it was about someone being rescued from a harem, but that was about it. It turned out to be rather different from what I’d imagined, and I’m delighted to say that I adored the production, largely due to its aesthetic beauty and the sheer verve with which the story was told.

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Original Scores: Le Malade Imaginaire: Molière (1673)

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

★★★

(Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse)

Last Monday I ventured away from my usual theatrical fare of blood-soaked Jacobean vengeance and tried something a little different. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are performing some candlelit concerts in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse this season, based around the concept of ‘original scores’. They present incidental music which was composed for early theatrical performances, originally intended to accompany ballets or intermezzi. This music is almost always stripped out of modern productions, leaving us with the bare unadorned text and, perhaps, depriving us of some of the subtleties which the playwright originally intended.

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