Die Entführung aus dem Serail

 

Mozart Die Entführung aus dem Serail opera to libretto by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner. Directed 2008 by Johan Simons (with Assistant Director Bert Bijnen) at Het Muziektheater, home of De Nederlandse Opera. Stars Laura Aikin (Konstanze), Edgaras Montvidas (Belmonte), Kurt Rydl (Osmin), Mojca Erdmann (Blonde), Michael Smallwood (Pedrillo), Steven Van Watermeulen (Bassa Selim), Oleksandra Lenyshyn, Maartje de Lint, Ian Spencer, Bert Visser (Four Janissaries), and Goua Robert Grovogui (A mute). Constantinos Carydis (with Assistant Boudewijn Jansen) conducts the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and the Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera (Chorus Master Brian Fieldhouse). Sets by Bert Neumann, costumes by Nina von Mechow; lighting by Lothar Baumgarte; dramaturgy by Koen Tachelet and Klaus Bertisch; directed for TV by Misjel Vermeiren. Released 2008, disc has 5.0 Dolby TrueHD sound. Grade: C+

This version of Entführung is overshadowed by the Liceu version directed by Christof Loy that came out in 2012. The singers here are a cut or so below the Liceu singers. Simons stresses the comic aspects of the work, which is no crime. But his directing veers off into silliness, slapstick, and sexually provocative horseplay, all of which pretty well swamps the more serious aspects of the libretto. The set looks like a collection of items found in musty opera warehouses and thrown together to come in below budget. In particular, the harem set looks like it may have originally been used at country fairs on the facade of a tent with exotic dancers. SQ and PQ are OK. I suggest you try the Liceu version first. If it's too serious for your taste, then this version might be a fallback.

Here's a nice YouTube clip, even if it is in SD. (There is a clip in HD of the same production, but it comes from a revival in 2015 with several different cast members):