Il Seraglio

In three acts by MOZART.


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.