Geneva Light Opera brings Mozart’s grotesque comedy to the Smith | Entertainment

GENEVA — Only Mozart could turn an opera about kidnappings, human trafficking and misunderstandings between religions into comic gold.

The Geneva Light Opera presents “The Abduction from the Seraglio”, a wacky, romantic comic opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with cheeky laughs, a twisted ending and a virtuoso score in the historic Smith Opera House.

Three performances are scheduled at the Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, (July 21)and 3 p.m. Saturday (July 23) and the Sunday. (July 24)Tickets are $35 for general admission, $20 for those under 30, and free for kids K-12. Premium tickets can be purchased for $100 – or $150 per couple – which include reserved seating and an artist reception during the second intermission.

Additionally, streaming tickets are available for $35.

Tickets are on sale at genevalightopera.org and will be available at the door. Doors open half an hour before the scheduled start time. Masks are encouraged but not required.

Overflowing with love, lust and longing, imbued with a lust for life and a barely concealed love for lust, “The Abduction from the Seraglio” was one of Mozart’s most successful operas of the living of the famous composer. The work explores the conflicts between nationalities and cultures with the lightest and most sophisticated touches. The exotically colored score includes some of Mozart’s most brilliant, extreme and virtuosic arias, while the production also manages to be a funny and boisterous tale of one man’s attempt to save the love of his life.

Tenor Michael Anderson plays Belmonte, the Spanish nobleman seeking to rescue his kidnapped fiancée, Constanza, who has been sold into slavery to the immensely wealthy ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, dramatic coloratura soprano Alexis Olinyk is Constanza – one of Mozart’s most spectacular roles – and soprano Michelle Seipel is his fiery and equally enslaved chambermaid, Blonda. Tenor Andres Lasaga is Belmonte’s enslaved valet, Pedrillo, who must devise his master’s dangerous rescue plan. Brian Keith Johnson commands the stage in the non-singing role of the almighty Pasha Selim.

The frothy caper is set in hilarious, action-packed circumstances where our heroes and heroines must outsmart their captors, especially the evil Osmin (Metropolitan Opera basso Valerian Ruminski), overseer of the Pasha’s harem or seraglio. But when their plans are betrayed and punishment looms, help comes from an unlikely side.

The singers and orchestra will be conducted by Eric Mahl with direction by Steve Vaughan. The production will include costumes by Paige Waldron of Rochester City Ballet and hand-painted sets by renowned studio Sormani in Milan, Italy, courtesy of the Stivanello Costume Company in New York.

As Mozart’s first singspiel or comic opera, German opera with spoken word, the dialogues will be spoken in English and the arias and ensemble will be sung in the German original. English surtitles will be projected throughout the show, which has a duration of two hours and fifteen minutes. There will be two fifteen-minute intermissions.

“‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’ is the opera that put Mozart on the world opera map for the first time,” noted Gena Rangel, Artistic Director of the Geneva Light Opera. “His beautiful music and down-to-earth humor — akin to the antics of his late opera ‘The Magic Flute’ — are uplifting. Opera places spectacular vocal demands on principal singers – especially Constanza, Belmonte and Osmin – and assembling such a talented cast of singers is a challenge for any opera company. GLO is proud to have made it to the beautiful Finger Lakes at a time when performing organizations around the world are emerging from the devastating eclipse caused by the pandemic.

This production of “The Abduction from the Seraglio” is made possible, in part, by public funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program administered locally by Auburn Public Theater, and by the Williams Family Foundation, the Nelson B. Delavan Foundation, and by the individual donors and supporters of the Geneva Light Opera.

About Madeline J. Carter

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