Die Enführung aus dem Serail

König Albert Theater, Bad Elster. Performance by the Landesbühnen Sachsen with the Elbland Philarmonie Sachsen. Singspiel.

One night only in Bad Elster by this touring company, and I was lucky enough to catch it. I did enjoy it, particularly the performances by the singers playing Belmonte and Konstanze. It was a slightly uneven production: I guess it’s a difficult opera to stage now if you don’t share 18th-century Austrian attitudes to Turks, so this one had the Pasha as a Mafia boss type and the women of the harem as flappers (blondes) or vamps with Louise Brooks wigs (brunettes) and the eunuchs in natty white suits and spats. Shades of early Hollywood, too, with the rolling  cameras and the final flash shot (“I’m ready for my close-up.”) It didn’t quite work: the realistic displays of violence from the Pasha sat oddly with his change of heart at the end – but it was fun. And the demands on the singers with those long, undulating notes (for him) and peaks of highs (her).

I worked out a rough translation of the synopsis and hoped to catch up during the spoken passages (I didn’t), so I missed many of the nuances. But the quality of the singing and orchestra was very good.


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