TCBO: Die Entführung aus dem Serail

The new Opera Season of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna will be opening on Friday 20 January at 8pm with a Gala performance of the Singspiel Die Entführung aus dem Serail K 384 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The show is produced by the TCBO, the Aix en Provence Festival (where it performed in 2015) and the Musikfest Bremen. Danish conductor Nikolaj Znaider, renowned violinist who later began a successful conducting career, will be making his Italian debut on an opera stage. The show is a production by Austrian director Martin Kušej, superintendent of the Residenztheater of Munich, and recognized as one of the most important stage directors to have appeared on the international scene over the last few years. Stage sets are by Annette Murschetz, costumes are by Heide Kastler, and light design by Reiner Traub. Herbert Stöger is directing the Bologna revival of the show.

The recording of the premiere will be broadcasted by Radio3 Rai.

The “Singspiel” (a German opera with spoken dialogues) on a libretto by Johann Gottlieb Stephanie, was premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna in July 1782. This production sets the plot within an Eastern world whose historical period and background are close to us, where the stage is turned into a desert land, with sand dunes and Berber tents, and on which the events involving the two loving couples and their antagonists take place; and where their stories can easily be interpreted as a metaphor of the contrasts between the East and the West. The dialogues, rewritten by playwright Albert Ostermaier, transfer the plot during the 1920s British colonization, the years of Lawrence of Arabia, when the Western powers, led by England, turned the Middle East into a source of oil, wealth, power, colonization, using the war against the Ottomans allied with the Germans as a pretext, thus arousing deep resentments in the locals, of which Isis is today’s final product. The staging, offering a parallelism, and using references to the self-proclaimed “Islamic state” and scenes of strong visual and emotional impact that produced heated reactions during the Aix en Provence debut, is now ready to face the sensitivity of the Italian audience in a theatre, like the Comunale di Bologna, that has always been open to new artistic expressions (over recent years it hosted directors like Bob Wilson, Romeo Castellucci, Guy Joosten, Alvis Hermanis; multimedia contemporary works like “River of Fundament” by Matthew Barney; and representatives of modern experimental theatre like Fanny & Alexander, Nigel Lowery, and Pietro Babina). Martin Kušej, who in 2012 won German’s prestigious “Faust” award as Best Director, and well known for his “radical” and uncompromising political theatre is, among today’s stage directors, one that performs “extreme sports”, creating scenes that explore glacial or flaming regions, as is the case of this production of Mozart’s “Abduction”.

On stage are Karl-Heinz Macek playing Pasha Selim, Cornelia Goetz interpreting the role of Kostanze, Julia Bauer as her English maid Blonde, Bernard Berchtold as Belmonte, Johannes Chum as his servant Pedrillo, and Mika Kares as Osmin. The Orchestra, the Chorus led by Andrea Faidutti, and technicians, are those of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

Performances on 22, 24, 26 and 29 January.

> Teatro Comunale Bologna