DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL
Opera in three acts
Libretto by G. Stephanie based on the play “Belmont und Constanze” by C. F. Bretzner
Selim, the Pasha
Old violin player
Young Belmonte, who is looking for his beloved Konstanze, reaches Pasha Selim’s palace on the seashore. Konstanze, together with her maid Blonde, is being helped captive. How does he find and save Konstanze – these thoughts are on the young man’s mind. But all his efforts have been in vain. Pasha’s faithful servants are vigilantly guarding the prisoner.
Here’s one of them – the old guard Osmin. He seems to be in good humour today. Maybe he will reveal something, if Belmonte approaches him? But the old man proves to be unyielding. Belmonte’s efforts to find out whether his servant Pedrillo is in the palace bring no result. The old man showers poor Belmonte with curses. If only half of what he said were to come true, the poor youth would have had his head blown off.
A chance encounter with Pedrillo clears everything. Belmonte finds out that pirates have captured the ship carrying Konstanze with Blonde and Pedrillo. Luckily, Pasha Selim has paid for all three and they stayed together. Posing as a gardener, Pedrillo managed to gain Pasha’s trust. He can introduce Belmonte to Selim as an experienced architect – it would make the prisoners’ escape possible! The decision is made.
A festively decorated ship reaches the land; Pasha and Konstanze, followed by a large retinue, disembark. The girl is sad. Even Selim’s kind treatment does not console the prisoner. Konstanze is certain that she will never see Belmonte again, but she cannot forget him.
Selim reproaches Konstanze: he has waited too long for the girl’s consent to be his mistress. Very well, Konstanze can give her answer later, but this will be the last delay. Pedrillo seizes the chance to carry out his plan: he passes Belmonte off as a talented architect who wants to serve the Pasha. The humble youth immediately earns Selim’s trust; his request is to be graciously granted…Belmonte wants to free his beloved right away, but his servant is more judicious. His advice is not to hurry: hastiness might ruin their attempt. Pedrillo also knows love, but he can hold his feelings in check, although at times it’s hard to see his beloved Blonde with the old and cunning Osmin.
Speak of the devil and his horns will appear – the guard appears. Osmin tries to impede Belmonte and Pedrillo. He is sure – it’s no coincidence that these two are so adamant to find their way into the palace. There is no doubt – their intent is wicked…
Selim’s palace garden. Osmin’s dwelling is nearby. Konstanze’s pretty maid catches Osmin’s eye. Pasha has gifted Blonde to him in a token of affection. But the girl ridicules Osmin’s efforts to win hear heart. She will never agree to become his slave. Osmin cautions Blonde about meeting with Pedrillo. But the girl is not easily scared. She is astonished that the women in this country can accept their humiliating situation. No, this kind of life is not for Blonde. And the girl is so firm in asserting her right for freedom that the bewildered Osmin decides to make himself scarce. A sad Konstanze appears. She cannot forget her beloved and the happy days the spent together.
Selim enters, followed by his retinue. He reminds Konstanze that he cannot wait any longer; tomorrow – whether she likes it or not – she will be his wife. Konstanze is in despair. It seems that she might have to submit to his will, but let Selim abandon his vain hopes: she does not love him and never will.
Meanwhile, Pedrillo meets Blonde and tells her that Belmonte is here and everything is ready for their escape. The maid hurries to share the news to her mistress. There is hope for rescue! Pedrillo is also confident of their success. They only have to wait until midnight and try to deceive the guards. They will have to start with Osmin. To lull the suspicious old man’s vigilance is to ensure the desired outcome: everyone knows about his weakness – he won’t be able to refuse an offering of wine.
Everything goes as planned. Osmin drinks one bottle after another, without suspecting that each bottle contains sleep powder, sprinkled in by Pedrillo. The old man becomes tipsy and falls asleep.
Belmonte appears in the garden. He eagerly waits for Konstanze… Finally! Here she is. The lovers rejoice: they have waited so long for this moment. Soon, all their misfortunes will be forgotten. In the meantime, Pedrillo joins Blonde.
Everything is ready for their escape. A ship waits at the shore – it will take the fugitives on board. Midnight. Pedrillo and Belmonte appear on the square in front of Selim’s palace, carrying a ladder. Pedrillo signals to the lovers by singing a serenade. He has done this before and it doesn’t raise the guards’ suspicions.
The fortune favours the fugitives. Konstanze and Belmonte manage to steal away. But the next couple is not as lucky – an enraged Osmin blocks their path. The old man calls for help. The guards appear, bringing Belmonte and Konstanze with them.
What is in store for the unfortunate wretches? All four decide to be brave in the face of their imminent death. A furious Pasha enters. The situation is exacerbated when Selim recognizes Belmonte as the son of his sworn enemy. The lovers bid their goodbye to each other – Pasha will never pardon them.
To the amazement of everyone, Selim makes an unexpected decision: he will not take revenge on his enemy’s son. He will extend his mercy and will set the lovers free. Thus, the story concludes, with an unexpectedly happy ending. And the enthusiastic actors praise the happy author surrounded by his family.