"In three words: A Pippin Classic! Pippin's witty use of the English language is unmatched on any opera stage. Translations and performances like this make the company one to cherish and to support."
-- Opera Guide
"The translation is excellent, with Pippin's witty lyrics seamlessly fused to Mozart's dynamic music ...pure, comic fun."
-- Peninsula Times Tribune
"Pocket Opera and Mozart have done it again! In Pippin's hands, the quaintly archaic story becomes timely, funny, touching, even noble. The words are deftly tailored to the music, natural and easy in the mouths of the singers, and witty enough to keep the audience in a perpetual state of delight."
"Perhaps Pippin's finest translation to date. The amusing retelling of the story is too precious to disclose in print, but rest assured that the purpose of Pippin's tamperings with the original words is to show off the original music. Mozart, if he could return for a performance as a 20th century man, would have loved it."
-- Bay Area Reporter
Constanza, along with her two friends, Blondie and Pedrillo -- Americans all - have been arrested off the coast of Turkey on a trumped up charge. The real reason is something else altogether - the Pasha, a rich and powerful local official, has caught sight of Constanza and wants to keep her, the longer the better.
The girls are being detained in a club house that Pedrillo mockingly calls "The Harem". Though allowed some freedom of movement, all three are under rigorous observation, with the ever-present threat that their situation can take a drastic turn for the worse. Bear in mind, this is a country that has never been criticised for coddling its prisoners. Their precarious well-being is dependent entirely on the Pasha's infatuation with Constanza and upon her willingness to meet his demands. In the meantime, their supervision is entrusted to Osmin, a surly, burly functionary who hates everybody, but Americans most of all.
Fortunately, John Belmonte, Constanza's fiance, in response to a note slipped out by Pedrillo, arrives to the rescue. Better yet, he comes with aplan. With money supplied by his wealthy father (a senator in Washington) they will bribe the guards and make an escape that very night. Speed is of the essence, as the threats on Constanza in the name of love are becoming increasingly urgent.
The Pasha, in fact is an ambivalent figure, a mixture of Middle Eastern despot and enlightened Western gentleman who has not quite got it sorted out. Partially educated in America -- at Columbia, no less -- he is embittered by the youthful treachery of his supposed best friend which caused him to be sent back home to Turkey in disgrace.
Midnight arrives! It is dark and deserted inside The Harem. Osmin is presumably in deep slumber, owing to a Mickey Finn slipped into a coke. The four are creeping out when-catastrophe! The dosage that would have knocked out an elephant is ineffective on Osmin. Almost fully awake, he stops them, places them back under arrest, and triumphantly summons the Pasha to witness the perfidy of these young Americans who have repaid his trust by attempting to escape. The Pasha, hurt and indignant, turns a deaf ear to pleas for clemency.
Belmonte's attempt at persuasion backfires when he reveals that his powerful and influential father, who could bring substantial benefit to Turkey, is none other than the false friend who once betrayed the Pasha, none other than the reptile whose venomous bite has poisoned his life ever since. Now, twenty years later, the opportunity for, revenge is at hand.
It would appear that we have reached the bitter end. Now as never before the Mozart magic is needed ...
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