Act I

Konstanze, Blonde (her English maid), and Pedrillo, the valet of her fiancé Belmonte, have been taken captive by pirates and sold to Pasha Selim. After searching for months, Belmonte has learned they are being held captive inside the pasha’s private cars aboard the Orient Express, which is ready to depart for Paris. Belmonte finds Osmin, the overseer of the pasha’s seraglio, and inquires after PedrilloOsmin becomes enraged, as Pedrillo is a rival for Blonde’s affections, and enjoys special treatment from the pasha. When Pedrillo approaches and tries to make peace, Osmin can barely disguise his contempt. 

Though Selim has selected Konstanze as his favorite of the harem, Belmonte is reassured to learn that she is alive and still loves him. As they plan their escape, Pedrillo suggests that Belmonte pose as an architect (one of the pasha’s favorite interests), but urges caution as Selim’s watchdog, Osmin, is ever on the alert. 

As the crowd at the train station cheers their ruler, Pasha Selim enters with Konstanze. Rather than force her love, he hopes she will come to him of her own free will, but Konstanze refuses to forget Belmonte. Selim finds her steadfast loyalty all the more alluring. After Konstanze leaves, Pedrillo presents Belmonte as an architect, and Selim agrees to accept his services, though Osmin distrusts the foreigner. 


Act II

Later that evening, Blonde scolds Osmin for his rude behavior as she contrasts the treatment of Turkish and European girls. Her independent streak both frustrates and attracts Osmin, but he is well aware of her already close relationship with PedrilloOsmin and Blonde spar until he angrily hurries out. 

Konstanze is overcome by sadness. Selim enters to woo her one more time, but with no luck. Though Konstanze has come to appreciate his finer qualities, she remains true to Belmonte even under the threat of torture. 

To facilitate their escape, Pedrillo plans to drug Osmin that evening. Though Osmin’s religion forbids liquor (and he naturally distrusts his rival), Pedrillo nonetheless convinces him to drink the (tainted) wine. The ruse works, and Osmin becomes incapacitated. Belmonte is joyfully reunited with Konstanze, and though both he and Pedrillo momentarily suspect their lovers may have been untrue, they are soon reassured of the women’s devotion. 



All parties nervously prepare for their getaway. Pedrillo signals them with a song, but by the time Blonde and Konstanze belatedly arrive, Osmin has awakened. He sounds the alarm, and both couples are taken into custody. Osmin informs Selim of their treachery and delights in the prospect of punishing his adversaries, even when bribed by Belmonte for their release. 

Afraid of what might happen, Belmonte and Konstanze agree to die together, should that be the pasha’s sentence. Likewise, Pedrillo and Blonde are afraid of Osmin’s wrath. The four are brought before Selim who will decide their fate … 

Don’t miss out on Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio when hits the Ordway stage for 5 performances, September 26- October 4, 2020.

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