In three acts by MOZART.
Text after BRETZNER by G. STEPHANIE.
Mozart modestly called this opera a Vaudeville (in German: Singspiel).
They were the fashion towards the end of the last century, but "Il
Seraglio" ranks much higher, and may be justly called a comic opera of
the most pleasing kind. The music is really charming, both fresh and
libretto is equally happy. It particularly inspired Mozart because
given him by the Emperor Joseph II at a time, when he (Mozart), a happy
bridegroom, was about to conduct into his home his beloved Constanze.
The contents are as follows:
Constanza, the betrothed bride of Belmonte is with her maid Bionda
(Blondchen) and Pedrillo, Belmonte's servant, captured by pirates. All
three are sold as slaves to Selim Pasha, who keeps the ladies in his
harem, taking Constanza for himself and giving Bionda to his
overseer Osmin. Pedrillo has found means to inform his master of their
misfortune, and Belmonte comes seeking entrance to the Pasha's villa in
the guise of an artist. Osmin, who is much in love with Bionda, though
she treats him haughtily, distrusts the artist and tries to interfere.
But Pedrillo, who is gardener in the Pasha's service, frustrates
Osmin's purpose and Belmonte is engaged. The worthy Pasha is quite
infatuated with Constanza and tries hard to gain her affections. But
Constanza has sworn to be faithful till death to Belmonte and great is
her rapture, when Bionda brings the news that her lover is near.
With the help of Pedrillo, who manages to intoxicate Osmin, they try to
escape, but Osmin overtakes them and brings them back to the Pasha, who
at once orders that they be brought before him.--Constanza, advancing
with noble courage, explains that the pretended artist is her lover,
and that she will rather die with him than leave him. Selim Pasha,
overwhelmed by this discovery, retires to think about what he shall do
and his prisoners prepare for death, Belmonte and Constanza with
renewed tender protestations of love, Pedrillo and Bionda without
either fear or trembling.
Great is their happiness and Osmin's wrath, when the noble Pasha,
touched by their constancy, sets them free, and asks for their
friendship, bidding them remember him kindly after their return into
their own country.