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Modern version of Mozart opera in Geneva

Passengers board a steamship in Mozart opera in Geneva. Grand Theatre Geneve / Nicholas Lieber

The Grand Théâtre in Geneva is staging an updated version of Mozart's opera, "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" ("The Abduction from the Serail"), which was first performed in 1782.

The last time the opera was staged in Geneva, in 1996, it caused some controversy because the setting had been changed: instead of taking place in a palace in an Islamic country – as Mozart had envisaged – the Zurich director, Dieter Kaegi, had it performed on a steamship.

It was then rare for this particular opera to be staged in a more modern setting than the original, and Kaegi’s ideas did not please many conservative members of the opera-going public

This time, the “floating” set is unlikely to cause such controversy because many more daring productions have been staged around the world since 1996.

The director of the Grand Théâtre, Renée Auphan, says she is delighted with the pairing on stage of soprano, Nathalie Dessay, with tenor, Roberto Sacca. “They are a perfect couple in this opera,” she said, “both vocally and theatrically.”

Another modern touch is provided by the Ochestre de la Suisse Romande – conducted by Ivor Bolton – which interprets Mozart’s opera using modern instruments.

The final performance in Geneva of “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” takes place on November 5.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR