German singspiel in three acts K. 384 (1781/82)
Libretto: based on Christoph F. Bretzner by Johann Gottlieb Stephanie the Younger, adapted by Stefan Herheim and Wolfgang Willaschek
The plot couldn’t be simpler: the Spanish nobleman Belmonte must free his fiancée Konstanze, her English maid Blonde and Belmonte’s servant Pedrillo from the clutches of the Turkish Bassa, or Pasha, Selim. Belmonte must sneak into the pasha’s seraglio and sneak back out again, all the while eluding and outsmarting Osmin, the overseer of the harem. With his Salzburg production of 2003, young Norwegian director Stefan Herheim raised a storm of controversy that continued to crackle in 2006, when the produciton was revised for the Mozart 22 cycle.
The controversy was largely due to the fact that Herheim transposed the events to the inner world of the human psyche. The harem is no longer a real harem, but a psychological place fo longing and desire, enticing and yet threatening at the same time. The entire exotic, Janissary scenery gives way to the more familiar images of one’s own sexual urges and impulses. The production revolves around the question how does a man get a woman? To get to the bottom of this age-old question, Herheim shows how men and women try to seek happiness together and fail since they are caught in conventions and subservient to their inner demons – illustrated here by Osmin as piriest and devil. "It is a genesis, the beginning of all beginnings, when man is separated into two sexes, disoriented, and from then on seeks to return to his original form in ever new constellations," explains Herheim. On the surface, everything is in motion; below, order rules – but it is an order that is often lost in everyday life.
Laura Aikin, Konstanze
Valentina Farcas, Blonde
Charles Castronovo, Belmonte
Dietmar Kerschbaum, Pedrillo
Franz Hawlata, Osmin
Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg
Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor
Ivor Boldon, conductor
Stefan Herheim, stage director
Tomáš Šimerda, video director
Recording dates: 03.08.| 08.08.| 10.08.2006
Venue: House for Mozart