Topic: 041) Don Giovanni 1965
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Graf Peter Homonay - Hermann Prey
Conte Carnero - Wolfgang Anheisser
Sandor Barinkay - Nicolai Gedda
Kalman Szupan - Kurt Böhme
Arsena - Rita Streich
Mirabella - Gizela Litz
Ottokar - Willi Brokmeier
Czipra - Biserka Cvejiæ
Saffi - Grace Bumbry
Recording from 1969. Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper.
Conductor Franz Allers.
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1. Das Land des Lächelns, operetta Dein ist mein ganzes Herz
2. Friederike, operetta O Mädchen, mein Mädchen
3. Frasquita, operetta Hab' ein blaues Himmelbett
4. Das Land des Lächelns, operetta Von Apfelblüten einen Kranz
5. Der Zarewitsch, operetta Wolga-Lied
6. Giuditta, operetta Du bist meine Sonne
7. Schön ist die Welt, operetta Schön ist die Welt
(Bruder Leichtsinn so
8. Paganini, operetta Gern hab' ich die Frau'n geküßt
9. Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow), operetta O Vaterland -
Da geh' ich zu Maxim
10. Giuditta, operetta Freunde, das Leben ist lebenswert
11. Schön ist die Welt, operetta Liebste glaub' an mich
12. Das Land des Lächelns, operetta Immer nur Lächeln
13. Der Graf von Luxemburg, operetta
Mein Ahnherr war der Luxemburg
Graunke Symphony Orchestra, conductor Willy Mattes
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Opera comique in 3 acts. Libretto by Eugène Scribe. First performance: Opéra-Comique, Paris, December 10, 1825.
George Brown Tenor ........ Nicolai Gedda
Jenny Soprano ............. Sofia Van Sante
Gaveston Bass ............. Guus Hoekman
Anna Soprano .............. Erna Spoorenberg
Dickson Tenor ............. Frans Vroons
Marguerite ................ Mimì Aarden
McIrton ................... Henk Driessen
Chorus & Orchestra of Radio Hilversum
Jean Fournet, conductor
Live performance, Hilversum, 25 November 1964
Boieldieu was, for want of a better description, a bel-cantist; his vocal lines are decorated and at times virtuosic--particularly in his writing for tenor. But at the same time he is quintessentially French in melodic and harmonic temperament and tone; his music is graceful and has a certain regality and delicacy that is immensely appealing. This opera is based on a couple of stories by Sir Walter Scott involving a disguised Earl, a castle, and a ghost (the "white lady" of the title) believed to be haunting the castle. It's silly, but the music is definitely worth hearing, and this performance, taped live in 1964 (and in very good sound--it must have been broadcast) is excellent. The production's star is the in-his-prime Nicolai Gedda, who sings the difficult music of George Brown (who turns out to be Julius, Earl of Avenell)--full of coloratura, octave leaps, high Cs, and much soft, sweet singing--as if it were easy. As Anna, whom the Earl eventually winds up marrying (and who has been roaming the castle as the ghost), Mimi Aarden exhibits a lovely soprano; her music often is accompanied by harp and has great charm. The conniving Gaveston, who wants the castle to himself, is baritone Henk Dreissen--perhaps not menacing, but a good singer. The rest of the cast is fine. This is a treat for certain tastes; light and delightful.--Robert Levine
1. Ah talor...Verrano a te sull'aura
2. Povero Ernesto...Cercero lontana terra
3. Prendi, l'anel ti dono
4. Prendi, prendi, per me sei libero
5. Son geloso del zefiro errante
6. Tornami a dir che m'ami
1. Eugen Onegin: Kuda, Kuda, Kuda VI Udallis
2. Werther: Pourqui Me Réveller
3. Les Pécheurs des Perles: Je Crois Entrendre Encore
4. Manon: Instand Charmant-En Fermant Les Yeux
5. La Muette De Portici: Du Pauvre Seul Ami Fidèle
6. Roméo et Juliette: L'amour, L'amour!
7. La Gioconda: Cielo E Mar!
8. Rigoletto: Ella mi Fu Rapita
9. Martha: Ach so fromm, Ach so Traut
10. L'elisier D'amore: Una Furtiva Lagrima
11. La Favorita: Favorita Del Re!
12. L'arlesiiana: E La Solita Storia
13. Boris Gudonow: Dimitri Tsaryévivh! Dimitri!
14. Tebyá, Tebyá Odnú, Marina
15. O, Tsaryévich, Imolyáyu - Vivát! Vivát!
16. Boris Gudunow: Lezuit Lukávy Krépko Zhal Menyá
17. Die Mainacht: Kak Tikho, Kak Prokhladno
18. Le Postillon De Longjumeau: Vänner, Jag Sjunga..
19. Le Devine du Village: Je Vals Revoir ma Charmante
20. Orphée et Eurydice: Quel Nouveau Ciel
21. J'ai Perdu Mon Eurydice
22. Don Giovanni: Dalla Sua Pace
23. Il Mio Tesoro Intanto
24. Die Zauberflöte: Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön
25. The Abduction From The Seraglio: Love, Only Love..
26. Oberon: Von Jugend auf schon im Kampfgefild
27. Vater! Hör' mich Fleh'n zu dir
28. Alessandro Stradella: Jungfrau Maria
29. Lohengrin: In fernem Land
30. Mein lieber Schwan
31. Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor: Horch, die Lerche
32. Die Königin von Saba: Magische Töne.. .
33. Benvenuto Cellini: Une Heure Encore.. .
34. Lakmé: Lakmé! Lakmé! Ah! Viens Dans La..
35. Werther: Un Autre Est Son Épouy!
36. Le Roi D'ys: Puisqu'on ne Peut Pas Fléchir.. .
37. Les Hugenots: Beauté Divine Enchanteresse
38. Guillaume Tell: Asile Héréditaire - Amis, Amis..
39. La Sonnambula: Prendi! L'anel Fi Dono
40. Son Geloso Del Zefiro Errante
41. Lucia Di Lammermoor: Ah! Talor Del Tuo Pensiero..
42. Tombe Degl'avi Miel - Fr Poco a Me Ricovero
43. Don Pasquale: Povero Ernestol - Cercherò Lontana..
44. Tornami a dir Che M'ami
46. La Danza
48. Gute Nacht, mein Holdes, süßes Mädchen
Prior to the start of the opera, Arnold, son of the Swiss leader Melcthal, has rescued Mathilde, an Austrian princess, from drowning. In spite of the political situation, Arnold and Mathilde have fallen in love.
It is the day of the Shepherd Festival, in May, near Lake Lucerne. Per tradition, Melchtal blesses the couples at the celebration. However, Arnold excludes himself from this privilege, as he is torn between his love for his country and his love for Mathilde. Horn fanfares interrupt the festival, and herald the arrival of Gesler, the Austrian Governor, whom the Swiss detest. Leuthold then enters, pursued by Gesler's forces. One of Gesler's soldiers has attempted to assault Leuthold's daughter, and Leuthold killed the soldier to defend her. He wishes to escape, and the lake is the only route. William Tell offers his assistance. Gesler’s guards arrive, led by Rodolphe. Leuthold manages to escape with the help of Tell, but as reprisal, Gesler's guards take Melchtal prisoner.
In a valley by a lake, Arnold and Mathilde meet and again pledge their love. Tell and Walter arrive, and inform Arnold that Gesler has ordered the execution of Melcthal. Arnold vows vengeance. Arnold, Tell and Walter swear an oath to liberate Switzerland. They inspire the cantons to unite in this quest.
At the market-place in Altdorf, the day is the hundredth anniversary of Austrian rule in Switzerland. In commemoration, Gesler has had his hat placed on top of a pole and the Swiss are ordered to pay homage to the hat. Tell arrives with his son Jemmy. Tell refuses to honour the hat. Gesler recognises Tell as the man who saved Leuthold, and wants to punish him somehow. He orders Tell to shoot an apple from Jemmy’s head, in the hope that Tell will harm his son. Tell is successful in piercing the apple, and tells Gesler that had the shot failed, he would have used his next arrow against him. Gesler orders Tell to be arrested.
A Swiss rebel army arrives, and battle ensues. Tell kills Gesler with an arrow through the heart. The Swiss emerge victorious. Mathilde and Arnold, secure in their love, reunite at the close.
Recorded in London, 1972
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LES HUGUENOTS Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864)
Marguerite de Valois Rita Shane
Comte de Saint-Bris Dimitri Petkov
Valentine Enriqueta Tarres
Comte de Nevers Pedro Farres
Urbain Jeanette Scovotti
Cossé Kurt Equiluz
Tavannes Harald Neukirch
Thoré Ewald Aichberger
de Retz Jaroslav Stanjnc
Méru Ladislav Ilavsky
Maurevert Manfred Schenk
Raoul de Nangis Nicolai Gedda
Marcel Justino Diaz
Bois-Rosé Ewald Aichberger
Deux Demoiselles Waltrud Haas/Unni Rugtvedt
Archer Manfred Schenk
Premier moine Jaroslav Stanjc
Second moine Ladislav Ilavsky
Troisième moine Manfred Schenk
Orchestra & Chorus of the Austrian Radio
Ernst Märzendorfer Conductor
Gottfried Preinfalk Chorus Master
Broadcast February 17, 1971* Grosser Konzerthaussaal, Vienna
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
This belongs in the pantheon of great opera recordings. In 1970 when the performance was taped, Beverly Sills had only sung the role that eventually hurt her voice--Elisabetta in Donizetti's Roberto Devereux--a handful of times, and so she was at the peak of her powers. The voice never was opulent or grand, but it was all the other things we hope for in a great vocal instrument: beautiful, expressive, agile, thoroughly even from very top (E-flats and Es) to bottom, with a flawless technique, extraordinary breath control, and a capability in any dynamic range, from the quietist pianissimo to an impressive forte. These traits, coupled with a lively, curious, intelligent mind and a commitment to drama, made her the finest dramatic coloratura of the late-'60s and very early '70s (Caballé could be emotionally and vocally lazy; Sutherland's interest in drama was ancillary).
There are other very good recordings of Manon on the market: Victoria de los Angeles is glorious, Gheorghiu and Alagna on EMI are excellent, and an odd, live performance on Myto, with Giacomo Aragall and Jeanette Pilou, is a wonderful surprise, full of passion. But this one is a desert-island set: Sills is girlish and demure at first, later alluring and sure of herself, then cajoling and outright lusty in the St. Sulpice Scene, and truly tragic at the end. Her coloratura is glittering, her "Adieu" heartrending. Nicolai Gedda is a very extroverted Des Grieux, singing with big, forward tone, but also (as usual) with great sensitivity and attention to dynamics. Gérard Souzay sounds a bit long-in-the-tooth for Lescaut, but he's a very classy singer and he does get the character's smarminess across. Gabriel Bacquier is a fine, authoritative Count, and the rest of the cast is superb. All sing in excellent French. Julius Rudel leads a more-than-complete score, with an additional aria for Manon in the Cours de la Reine scene that Massenet added for another soprano, and the orchestral playing is all you'd want it to be. The sound, once glaring, is now close to perfect. This is it. [06/22/2004]
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Manon - Beverly Sills
De Grieux - Nicolai Gedda
Comte de Grieux - Gabriel Bacquier
Lescaut - Gerard Suzay
Conductor - Julius Rudel, 1970
1774 Paris version (with tenor Orpheus)
Orphée - Nicolai Gedda
Eurydice - Janine Micheau
L'Amour - Liliane Berton
Louis de Froment
The first lines of arias, choruses, etc., are given in Italian (1762 version) and French (1774 version).
A chorus of nymphs and shepherds join Orfeo around the tomb of his wife Euridice in a solemn chorus of mourning; Orfeo is only able to utter Euridice's name (Chorus and Orfeo: “Ah, se intorno”/“Ah! Dans ce bois”). Orfeo sends the others away and sings of his grief in the aria "Chiamo il mio ben"/“Objet de mon amour”, the three verses of which are preceded by expressive recitatives. This technique was extremely radical at the time and indeed proved overly so for those who came after Gluck: Mozart chose to retain the unity of the aria. Amore (Cupid) appears, telling Orfeo that he may go to the Underworld and return with his wife on the condition that he not look at her until they are back on earth (1774 only: aria by Amour, “Si les doux accords”). As encouragement, Amore informs Orfeo that his present suffering shall be short-lived with the aria "Gli sguardi trattieni"/“Soumis au silence”. Orfeo resolves to take on the quest. In the 1774 version only he delivers an ariette ("L'espoir renaît dans mon âme") in the older, showier, Italian style, originally composed for an occasional entertainment, Il Parnaso confuso (1765), and subsequently re-used in another one, Le feste d'Apollo (1769).
In a rocky landscape, the Furies refuse to admit Orfeo to the Underworld, and sing of Cerberus, its canine guardian (“Chi mai dell’Erebo”/“Quel est l’audacieux”). When Orfeo, accompanied by his lyre (represented in the opera by a harp), begs for pity in the aria "Deh placatevi con me"/“Laissez-vous toucher”, he is at first interrupted by cries of "No!" from the Furies, but they are eventually softened by the sweetness of his singing in the arias "Mille pene"/“Ah! La flamme and "Men tiranne"/“La tendresse”, and let him in (“Ah, quale incognito affetto”/“Quels chants doux”). In the 1774 version, the scene ends with the "Dance of the Furies" (No. 28).
The second scene opens in Elysium. The brief ballet of 1762 became the four-movement "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" (with a prominent part for solo flute) in 1774. This is followed (1774 only) by a solo which celebrates happiness in eternal bliss (“Cet asile”), sung by either an unnamed Spirit or Euridice, and repeated by the chorus. Orfeo arrives and marvels at the purity of the air in an arioso ("Che puro ciel"/“Quel nouveau ciel”). But he finds no solace in the beauty of the surroundings, for Euridice is not yet with him. He implores the spirits to bring her to him, which they do (Chorus: “Torna, o bella”/“Près du tendre objet”).
On the way out of Hades, Euridice is delighted to be returning to earth, but Orfeo, remembering the condition related by Amore in Act I, lets go of her hand and refuses to look at her, does not explain anything to her. She does not understand his action and reproaches him, but he must suffer in silence (Duet: “Vieni, appaga il tuo consorte”/“Viens, suis un époux”). Euridice takes this to be a sign that he no longer loves her, and refuses to continue, concluding that death would be preferable. She sings of her grief at Orfeo's supposed infidelity in the aria "Che fiero momento"/“Fortune ennemie” (in 1774, there is a brief duet before the reprise). Unable to take any more, Orfeo turns and looks at Euridice; again, she dies. Orfeo sings of his grief in the famous aria "Che farò senza Euridice?”/“J’ai perdu mon Eurydice” (“What I will do without Euridice?”/"I have lost my Euridice")
Orfeo decides he will kill himself to join Euridice in Hades, but Amore returns to stop him (1774 only: Trio: “Tendre Amour”). In reward for Orfeo's continued love, Amore returns Euridice to life, and she and Orfeo are reunited. After a four-movement ballet, all sing in praise of Amore (“Trionfi Amore”). In the 1774 version, the chorus (“L’Amour triomphe”) precedes the ballet, to which Gluck had added three extra movements.
Magic on all fronts is this excellent-value reissue, where Beecham’s sensuous way with the orchestra is well matched by the soloists.
As Richard Osborne points out in his brilliant, informative note, this classic Beecham set was originally welcomed in Gramophone with a glowing review from Philip Hope Wallace: ‘I send up a loud “Ole”.’ It certainly stands the test of time, sparkling, swaggering and seducing in a way that is uniquely Beecham’s. It now comes in the EMI Great Recordings of the Century series, with brightened, freshened and clarified sound. As RO points out, there were serious problems at the sessions – a second series was organised 15 months after the first (hence the two Mercedes) – but you would never realise there had been difficulties, either from the performance or the firmly focused, spacious recording in which the atmospheric off-stage effects are vividly caught.
What is so individual is the way that Beecham points rhythms to captivate the ear, as well as his persuasive moulding of phrases. I think, for example, of the sensuous way he coaxes the string phrase leading into the second half of the Don Jose/Micaela duet in Act 2, ‘Parle-moi de ma mere!’ (disc 1, track 9, 3'47''). In those qualities Beecham is delectably matched by Victoria de los Angeles in the title-role.
Richard Osborne reveals that Beecham’s original choice of heroine was the Swedish mezzo Kerstin Meyer. After all, de los Angeles – Mimi in Beecham’s Boheme recording – is hardly an obvious candidate for such a fire-eating role. But as RO points out, there is far more to Carmen than is conveyed in that conventional approach, and de los Angeles instantly establishes her as a seductive, provocative character with wickedly sparkling eyes. In her opening solo, the Habanera, her delicious downward portamento on ‘Je t’aime’ is irresistible.
The Carmen quality which de los Angeles does not have in her regular armoury, though, is a snarl. Instead she consistently uses her golden tone to tantalise and provoke, as in the magically sultry moment leading into ‘La-bas dans la montagne’ in her Act 2 duet with Jose just after the Flower song (disc 2, track 13). At that point Beecham, too, subtly pressing the music forward, is a fellow magician. Then at the very end, in Act 4, de los Angeles does finally muster a snarl in the culminating phrase ‘laisse-moi passer’ (‘Well stab me then, or let me pass’).
In a way, Nicolai Gedda’s portrait of Don Jose is just as remarkable. He was at his peak, and sings not just with refinement and imagination but with deep passion, leading one on in the widest expressive range in the Flower song. Janine Micheau makes a bright, clear Micaela, very French in tone, and Ernst Blanc, if not the most characterful Escamillo, makes the bullfighter a forthright, heroic character, singing throughout with firm, clear tone. The rest of the cast, all French, make an excellent team, as is clear in ensembles: the sparkling account of the Act 2 Quintet or the opening of the Card scene, or the swaggering march ensemble as the smugglers depart in Act 3 (disc 3, track 6). A magic set now made all the more enticing in this mid-price reissue.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [10/2000]
Recorded in Paris, September 1959
This Boris Godunov was recorded in 1976, and released the following year. It is best described as the 1872 version, conflated with 1869 material that had later been removed. Thus, the Polish act dates from 1872, but the section of Pimen and Grigory’s scene that had been cut from that version is restored here. The forest scene near Kromny concludes the opera, with the Fool lamenting Russia and her people, but the scene between the Fool and the children has been repositioned earlier, before the Council of Boyars meets.
Studio Recording, Rome 1962
Mimi - Mirela Freni
Rodolfo - Nicolai Gedda
Musetta - Mariella Adani
Marcello - Mario Sereni
Conducting Thomas Schippers
I posted a wrong link before. Here is now a new link. I put both CDs in one archive.
Fra Diavolo ....... Nicolai Gedda
Lord Cockburn ..... Rémi Corazza
Lady Pamela ....... Jane Berbié
Lorenzo ........... Thierry Dran
Mathéo ............ Jules Bastin
Zerline ........... Mady Mesplé
Giacomo ........... Michel Trempont
Beppo ............. Michel Hamel
Francesco ......... Michel Marimpouy
Un Soldat ......... Régis Ducrocq
Ensemble Choral Jean Leforge
Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo
Marc Soustrot, conductor
Recorded: Monte-Carlo, Salle Garnier, 20-26 Sept 1983 & 13 June 1984
The original of the story of "Fra Diavolo“is to he found in Lesueur’s opera, “La Caverne,” afterwards arranged as a spectacular piece and produced in Paris in 1808 by Cuvellier and Franconi, and again in Vienna in 1822 as a spectacle-pantomime, under the title of "The Robber of the Abruzzi.“In Scribe’s adaptation the bandit, Fra Diavolo, encounters an English nobleman and his pretty and susceptible wife, Lord and Lady Allcash, at the inn of Terracina, kept by Matteo, whose daughter Zerlina is loved by Lorenzo, a young soldier, on the eve of starting to capture Fra Diavolo when the action of the opera begins.
In the first scene the English couple enter in great alarm, having narrowly escaped the robbery of all their valuables by Fra Diavolo’s band. The bandit himself, who has followed them on their journey in the disguise of a marquis, and has been particularly attentive to the lady, enters the inn
as Lord Allcash has been reproving his ‘wife for her familiarity with a stranger. A quarrel ensues in a duet of a very humorous character (“I don’t. object”). Upon the entrance of Fra Diavolo, a quintet (“Oh, Rapture unbounded!”) occurs, which is one of the most effective and admirably harmonized ensembles Auber has ever written. Fra Diavolo learns the trick by which they saved the most of their valuables, and, enraged at the failure of his band, lays his own plan to secure them. In an interview with Zerlina, she, mistaking him for the Marquis, tells him the story of Fra Diavolo in a romanza (“On yonder Rock reclining”), which is so fresh, vigorous, and full of color, that it has become a favorite the world over. To further his schemes, Fra Diavolo makes love to Lady Allcash and sings a graceful barcarole to her (“The Gondolier, fond Passion’s Slave”), accompanying himself on the mandolin. Lord Allcash interrupts the song, and the trio, “Bravi, Bravi,” occurs, which leads up to the finale of the act. Fra Diavolo eludes the carbineers, who have returned, and they resume their search for him, leaving him unmolested to perfect his plans for the robbery.
The second act introduces Zerlina in her chamber about to retire. She first lights Lord and Lady Allcash to their room, a running conversation occurring between them in a trio (“Let us, I pray, good wife, to rest”), ‘which is one of the best numbers in the work. Before Zerlina returns to her chamber, Fra Diavolo and his companions, Beppo and Giacomo, conceal themselves in a closet, and, somewhat in violation of dramatic consistency, Fra Diavolo sings the beautiful serenade, “Young Agnes,” which had been agreed upon as a signal to his comrades that the coast was clear. Zerlina enters and after a pretty cavatina (“ ‘T is To-morrow”) and a prayer, charming for its simplicity (“Oh, Holy Virgin”), retires to rest. The robbers, in attempting to cross her room, partially arouse her. One of them rushes to the bed to stab her, but falls back awestricken as she murmurs her prayer and sinks to rest again. The trio which marks this scene, sung pianissimo, is quaint and simple and yet very dramatic. The noise of the carbineers returning outside interrupts the plan of the robbers. They conceal themselves in the closet again. Zerlina rises and dresses herself. Lord and Lady Allcash rush in en déshabillé to find out the cause of the uproar. Lorenzo enters to greet Zerlina, when a sudden noise in the closet disturbs the company. Fra Diavolo, knowing he will be detected, boldly steps out into the room and declares that he is there to keep an appointment with Zerlina. Lorenzo challenges him, and he promises to give him satisfaction in the morning, and coolly effects his escape. One of his comrades, however, is captured, and to secure his own liberty agrees to betray his chief.
The third act introduces Fra Diavolo once more among his native mountains, and there is the real breath and vigor of the mountain air in his opening song (“Proudly and wide my Standard flies”), and rollicking freedom in the rondeau which follows it (“Then since Life glides so fast away”). He exults in his liberty, and gleefully looks forward to a meeting with Lord and Lady Allcash, which he anticipates will redound to his personal profit. His exultation is interrupted by the entrance of the villagers arrayed in festival attire in honor of the approaching wedding ceremonies, singing a bright pastoral chorus (“Oh, Holy Virgin! bright and fair”). The finale of the act is occupied with the development of the scheme between Lorenzo, Beppo, and Giacomo, to ensnare Fra Diavolo and compass his death; and with the final tragedy, in which Fra Diavolo meets his doom at the hands of the carbineers, but not before he has declared Zerlina’s innocence. This finale is strong and very dramatic, and yet at the same time simple, natural, and unstudied. The opera itself has always been a favorite, not alone for its naturalness and quiet grace, but for the bright and even boisterous humor, which is displayed by the typical English tourist, who was for the first time introduced in opera by Scribe. The text is full of spirit and gayety, and these qualities are admirably reflected in the sparkling music of Auber. How well it was adapted for musical treatment is shown by the fact that “Fra Diavolo” made Auber’s reputation at the Opera Comique.
Live performance from Aix-en-Provence, 1954
Teresa Stich-Randall - Konstanze
Nicolai Gedda - Belmonte
Carmen Prietto - Blonde
Michel Sénéchal - Pedrillo
Raphael Arië - Osmin
ACT I. Turkey, 1700s. Pasha Selim has bought three Europeans from pirates - Constanze, a Spanish woman of good family; Blonde, her English maid; and Pedrillo, servant of Constanze's fiancé, Belmonte. Belmonte has traced them to a seaside palace, where Constanze has become the pasha's favorite and Pedrillo the gardener. Blonde has been given as a gift by the pasha to his overseer, Osmin. Belmonte's first encounter is with Osmin, who acts polite until Belmonte mentions Pedrillo, the custodian's rival for Blonde. He drives Belmonte away and then rails at Pedrillo, who has come in hopes of making peace with him. Belmonte returns to find his former servant, who tells him the pasha loves Constanze but will not force himself on her. Pedrillo will try to arrange a meeting between Constanze and Belmonte and an escape by boat with Blonde, if they can get past Osmin. In hiding, Belmonte yearns for Constanze, who soon appears with Pasha Selim. When the pasha asks her why she is always depressed by his courtship of her, Constanze replies she cannot forget her love for her fiancé from whom she was separated. After she leaves, Pedrillo introduces Belmonte to the pasha as a promising young architect. Selim welcomes him and, departing, arranges a conference for the next day. Osmin bars the way when Belmonte and Pedrillo try to enter the palace, but he is confused easily, and the two foreigners march him around in circles. Dizzy, Osmin does not notice they have gained access.
ACT II. In a garden, Blonde confounds Osmin with her cleverness and faces him down when he threatens her. Constanze finds Blonde and complains of her sad state, which does not improve when the pasha again asks her to marry him. She proudly refuses, preferring torture, even death. When they have gone, Blonde and Pedrillo dance into the garden, discussing their plan of escape: they will get Osmin drunk, and all four lovers will leave on Belmonte's ship. Later, Pedrillo goes about his business, finding Osmin cooperative, though drinking wine is against the Moslem religion. Thoroughly inebriated, the fat man weaves away with the bottle, leaving the coast clear for Belmonte to meet Constanze. Their reunion is shared by Blonde and Pedrillo.
ACT III. Just before midnight, Pedrillo places a ladder against the ladies' window and sings a serenade, the signal for escape. But he wakes Osmin, who is not too hung over to realize what is going on and takes them all to the pasha, who is angry. Belmonte suggests the pasha collect a handsome ransom from his wealthy family, the Lostados. At this, the pasha realizes that Belmonte is the son of an old enemy, the man who exiled him from his own country. But eventually he decides that rather than take blood for blood he will repay evil with good, freeing Constanze and Belmonte, even Blonde and Pedrillo. This does not sit well with Osmin, who will lose Blonde, but he is promised other rewards. The grateful lovers praise their benefactor as they prepare to set sail.