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Die Entführung aus dem Serail Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

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Between East and West

Duration 3:00

Breaks 1

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Language German

Surtitles English & Dutch

In the often difficult relationship between ‘East’ and ‘West’, the theme of forgiveness is just as relevant today. Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail was an unconventional work for its day, about people of flesh and blood. Stage director Johan Simons has created an intimate and colourful Entführung, which couples political drama with humour.

In short

Mozart’s German-language ‘Singspiel’ Die Entführung aus dem Serail, about an abduction from a harem, appealed to the Viennese aristocracy. However, they were not immediately enthusiastic about the surprising detail of the noble Muslim who releases his prisoners rather than taking revenge. But within ten years, Die Entführung aus dem Serail made a triumphant tour of forty European cities. The oriental twist that Mozart incorporated in his music eventually found favour.

Watch the trailer of Die Enrführung aus dem Serail.
Why is Die Entführung aus dem Serail more relevant than ever? Director Johan Simons and dramaturge Klaus Bertisch explain.
Listen to Martern aller Arten sung by Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail
  • Jérémie Rhorer

    Musical director

    JÉRÉMIE RHORER (musical director) is not only a regular guest conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, but has also conducted the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Yomiuri Nippon (Tokyo).

    Johan Simons


    JOHAN SIMONS (director) is the intendant of the Ruhrtriennale and the future intendant of Schauspielhaus Bochum.

    Team, Cast and Chorus

    Musical director 
    Jérémie Rhorer
    Stage director 
    Johan Simons
    Bert Neumann †
    Nina von Mechow
    Lothar Baumgarte
    Koen Tachelet
    Klaus Bertisch
    Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
    Chorus of Dutch National Opera
    Rehearsal director 
    Klaas-Jan de Groot
    Lenneke Ruiten
    Paul Appleby
    Peter Rose
    Siobhan Stagg
    David Portillo
    Bassa Selim 
    Steven Van Watermeulen
    Four Janissaries 
    Floor van der Sluis
    Hadewijch Voorn
    Julian Hartman
    Mirco Schmidt


    There is one speaking role in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which you could probably see as the actual main part: that of the forgiving Bassa Selim. This part is played by actor Steven Van Watermeulen. Actor, stage director and writer Steven Van Watermeulen has worked with directors like Guy Cassiers, Ivo van Hove, Pierre Audi, Christoph Marthaler and Dora van der Groen. For his role in De Wespenfabriek with the RO Theater, he was awarded the Louis d’Or. Since February 2014, he has been the artistic director of the Directors’ Course at De Theaterschool, Amsterdam University of the Arts.

    Political drama and humour
    In an intimate Entführung Simons couples political drama with humour. Playing with the effect of a theatre within a theatre gives an exciting double layer to Die Entführung aus dem Serail.


    Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jérémie Rhorer

    The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra has been the regular orchestra partner of Dutch National Opera for over 30 years and is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras. Each season, the two orchestras perform the majority of the opera productions in Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra gives a varied programme of concerts in the Concertgebouw and performs at major concert halls and festivals in the Netherlands and abroad.

    Marc Albrecht is the principal conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and of Dutch National Opera. Gordan Nikolić is the artistic director and concertmaster of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. In recent seasons, the orchestras for Dutch National Opera have had great success with audiences and international press alike, with productions including Die Zauberflöte, Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, Il viaggio a Reims, Der Rosenkavalier and Hänsel und Gretel. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marc Albrecht, received an Edison for their recording of the DNO production Der Schatzgräber, in December 2014. In the 2016-2017 season, the orchestras will be performing the DNO productions Le nozze di Figaro, Manon Lescaut, Parsifal, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Wozzeck, A Dog’s Heart and Rigoletto.

    The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra also brings classical music to people who do not automatically visit concert halls. Musicians go into schools to let children experience how enjoyable it is to play an instrument and listen to classical music. The musicians share their love of and passion for music with young and old, for example in hospitals or at festivals. This makes classical music accessible to all.


    On Sunday 15 January, after the performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, the soloist Lenneke Ruiten (Konstanze) will be at the shop to sign your purchases. This signing session is only for people with tickets for the matinee performance!

      Wed 10 Feb

      ‘Ultimately, what concerned him was something more universal: love, loyalty and a forgiving disposition, and Johan Simons makes the most of this. The way he directs his characters is of the highest standard’. (Het Parool about Die Entfürung aus dem Serail, 2008)

      Wed 10 Feb

      ‘Simons subtly senses that Die Entführung is also an opera about inner conflict and doubt, and turns this fact into the power of his production’. (De Groene Amsterdammer about Die Entfürung aus dem Serail, 2008)