When people in their 20’s talk about things they like do, there’s a common list of activities: weekend fitness, brunches, art exhibitions and on the rare occasion, a show. Never once, though, have I met a twenty-something and hear them utter the words “opera”, and yet, here I was on a Wednesday night, ducking out of work to check out Melbourne Opera’s The Abduction from the Seraglio.
Now, I don’t know what I really expected – big people in stuffy, elaborate, dresses and tuxes? Or perhaps ear drum bursting notes amongst classic tunes? But what I saw was totally different. Here was a modern set, with singers in 70’s style gear performing comedy in song!
The story is about the abduction of “the most beautiful woman in the world”, Konstanze, from her lover Belmonte and his journey to rescue her. The stage opens to Belmonte having just landed by parachute outside mobster billionaire, the Pasha’s, mansion. What follows then is a series of different characters with interesting roles – a very Aussie bloke who is a friend of Belmonte who, halfway through the show reveals his amazing singing talent, a very strong-willed best friend of Kostanze (goodness knows how she ended up in captivity too?) and my favourite – Osmin, head of security.
The show was originally written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and hadn’t been performed on stage in Melbourne for over 20 years. The storyline is quite simple to follow and, to be fair on Mozart, might be because it takes about 4 times of repeating the lyrics to understand what was being said by the singers on stage. That’s less of a reflection on the talent though, and more a reflection on my lack of attending Operas in the past.
Suzanne Chaundy, who directs all 2016 productions for MO, did an excellent job of bringing this play to life. The characters are colourful; their charm is captivating and the sets were pretty impressive. If you enjoy theatre then you may very well find yourself enjoying the show that is The Abduction from the Seraglio.
More information about The Abduction from the Seraglio can be found here. The Abduction from the Seraglio will be showing at Monash University, School of Music Auditorium on Saturday 19th of March. Tickets yet to be release.