2 days ago
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Mozart's Opera "Zaide"
The story is similar to many "rescue" dramas of the time, most especially Voltaire's story Zaire, which features the Sultan of Jerusalem, his beloved slave; Zaire, and another slave; Nerestan. In Zaide there is a sultan named Soliman who is in love with his slave, Zaide, but Zaide is in love with another slave called Gomatz. In the libretto by Johann Andreas Schachtner the lovers flee with the help of another slave named Allazim, only to be recaptured and brought back to the sultan for judgement, torture, and very probably death. If this sounds familiar it's probably because the plot of Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail holds many similarities, except that in that story everyone goes free in the end, but Mozart never finished Zaide so we do not know what he intended.
In the production I just finished we played chose-your-own-adventure-opera and let the audience decide each performance which of three endings there would be, but we only gave them a single word clue as to what each ending would entail. If you're interested in what those three possibilities were I encourage you to read this review by Washington Post writer Anne Midgette, for a full and less biased report than mine.
To enjoy a sample of the music I give you the final quartet from Act II.