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The Seraglio

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Hackney Empire291 Mare Street, Hackney, London, Greater London, E8 1EJ, United Kingdom
October 04, 08 at 19:30

With The Seraglio, his first real success in the theatre, the youthful genius was conscious of his Viennese audience’s erotic fascination with all things eastern. The harem, or Seraglio, was its scented centre, surrounded by well-worn walls. Within, a young girl is clearly fascinated by a strange, passionate Pasha who rules by reason – he, of course, never sings, unlike his bumptious young rival, the boy from Seville.

For Belmonte, and the girl called ‘Konstanze’ (like Mozart’s wife), the young composer wrote his most passionate and difficult music; for their servants, Pedrillo and Blonde, he wrote his wittiest. They are a bit like celebrities on an island, free of practical skill, finding out their strengths and weaknesses by trial and error.

Mozart up-ends all possible stereotyping in his singspiel. If you meet a more independent and assured maid than Blonde, maybe take cover; if you expect tyranny from everyone who frightens you, look closer at the Pasha.

A charming confection with a beating heart, ETO’s period production of The Seraglio should be a good night out for all who enjoy life.


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