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“Too fine for our ears and a tremendous number of notes, my dear Mozart.”To which he replied “Exactly as many, your majesty, as are necessary” (Turner 258)

The event I attended for MUS111 was Mozart’s Opera Buffa, Abduction from the Seraglio, first presented in Vienna July 16, 1782. The opera was presented by Opera Atelier with musical accompaniment by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre. The Abduction from the Seraglio is an opera Singspiel in three acts. It is an irreverent comic opera based in the commedia dell’arte tradition. The Abduction from the Seraglio, or in the original German, Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, was written in German for Vienna’s new national Burgtheatre, established by Emperor Joseph II as a venue for German language operas (Osborne 181). Opera Atelier’s production was sung in German with English surtitles and recitatives. Opera Atelier specializes in opera, ballet and drama from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Opera Atelier’s productions draw from the aesthetics and ideals of the period represented, and feature period ballet, costumes and original instruments (OA Program 39).Mozart collaborated with Gottlieb Stephanie on the libretto for Abduction from the Seraglio, which was adapted from an earlier work (Dent 71). The opera’s libretto is based on a stock commedia dell’arte scenario, an Italian tradition which comprises plays in which a beautiful young person is held captive by a controlling authority figure. Their rescue becomes the impetus of the play and is usually executed by a lover closer to the captive in status (OA Program 16). The production at the Elgin theatre did not stray from this template.Abduction from the Seraglio, Mozart’s Singspiel or “play w…

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…d movement of the story and that Mozart concentrates too much on Osmin at the beginning and gets too bogged down with Konstanze in the middle of the second act (258 Turner).For Mozart operatic composition brought him the most money and Abduction from the Seraglio became Mozart’s most popular opera during his lifetime (Zaslaw 55). Personally, I enjoyed the performance very much.Opera Atelier does not meticulously mimic the past; their creations can stand independently. However, Opera Atelier strives to create productions that would have been recognizable in their own time. I remember creative director Marshall Pynkoski and choreographer Jeannette Zingg from their early days in the mid-1980s when the two of them would perform period dance Sunday afternoons at the Royal Ontario Museum. It is thrilling for me to see how successful they have become.10100 66554899

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