8 July 2015

Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Glyndebourne

Glyndebourne had a thing for lesser known Mozart operas and I did too after seeing Bastien and Bastienne at Grimeborn in 2012 and La finta giardiniera at Glyndebourne last year. Some friends that we had taken to Glyndebourne several times before were interested in seeing Die Entführung aus dem Serail too so we were the usual foursome.

We decided to go for cheap seats for this one knowing that we could hear the music clearly wherever we sat. The seats we got in the ballot were Blue Circle Box 15 and 16, that was four seats at a miserly £50 each. There were some drawbacks with the seats. The view of the stage was fine but the view of the supertitles was obstructed which meant that I had to wriggle in my seat a little to read all the text. A small price to pay for a small price.

Despite all of us being regular visitors to Glyndebourne we did the walk around the garden thing and enjoyed it immensely despite its familiarity.

We also enjoyed the other familiar habits like the tea and cake on arrival and, obviously, the sparkling wine with the main meal during the long interval. The opera at Glyndebourne is a great attraction but it is everything else that goes with it that makes it an event.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail translates to The Abduction from the Seraglio and concerns two women who had been abducted by by a Turk and the two men trying to get them back. In the way was the abductor and his burly servant. Despite the premise it was actually a comic opera and one with a heart too. The men's plots to get the women back were amateurish and easily foiled while the Turkish servant had problems with his wife in the kitchen.

The style of the opera was singspiel, or sing-play, which is to say that the narrative was spoken and punctuated with the songs. It's a perfectly valid form of opera and while that meant that it had less music than one that was fully sung it also meant that the plot was easier to follow. The songs were pretty enough, they were written by Mozart, and the whole thing was rather jolly.

The heart bit came at the end when the big bad Turk turned out not to be such a baddy after all and, even better, he made a point of behaving better than the Europeans had behaved to him. And they all lived happily ever after (apart from the servant).

After the opera there was time for a coffee and a chat while others queued to get out of the car park.

This day at Glyndebourne, like so many others, ran from about 3pm to 10pm, and was a wonderful day, like so many others.

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