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Tarpon Springs' New Century Opera showcases Mozart's cheerful mood

TARPON SPRINGS

If a combination of pirates, abductions and love affairs — wrapped in a comedy laced with drama and accompanied by the music of Mozart — sounds exciting, check out an opera this weekend. "It's a lot of fun, a comedy with dramatic moments as well," said Constantine Grame, 28, artistic director of New Century Opera, which is putting on the production tonight and Sunday at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. "The tuneful music of Mozart and engaging story makes it perfect for anyone coming to see their first opera."

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio was written in 1782, during the happier days of the composer's life. The work will be sung in English and directed by Grame.

The cast of six principals and a chorus of 16 began theater rehearsals in early December, but the group has been rehearsing music for the production since earlier in 2010, according to Grame.

"It's interesting when you think of a performance written in the 1700s and still being produced today," said Helene MacNeil, stage manager of New Century Opera and the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. "The cast does a phenomenal job. It's a combination of fun and beautiful music by Mozart. It's an amazing opera."

Mozart wrote the piece in the German art form singspiel, a lighthearted combination of music and speaking.

"Not only is the music beautiful," said MacNeil, 44, of Palm Harbor, "but the performance is visually appealing with the set and elaborate period costumes."

While the fashions may harken back to earlier centuries, the story of The Abduction from the Seraglio sounds like a more modern-day tale.

Belmonte, a young and daring Spanish nobleman played by Bryce Westervelt, is in love with a beautiful young woman, Constanza, played by Linda Hines. When she disappears, Belmonte believes that his beloved and her maid, Blonda, played by Phoenix Gayles, have been kidnapped by pirates.

The nobleman travels to the Turkish harem of Pasha Selim to rescue Constanza.

A comedic and musically charming chaos evolves.

Belmonte learns through Pasha Selim's servant Osmin, played by Mark C. Payne, that Constanza and Blonda have both been sold by the pirates to Selim. Worse yet, Selim, played by Bruce P. Taylor, has fallen in love with Constanza. Will Belmonte's servant, Pedrillo, played by Stephen Mollica, help the nobleman save Constanza? All it takes is a ticket to the opera to find out.

"The Abduction from the Seraglio has something for everyone," Grame said. "Come and enjoy the opera. It's a fun piece of theater."

.if you go

Abduction and rescue

What: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio by the New Century Opera, sung in English.

When: 7:30 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St., Tarpon Springs.

Cost: Reserved seating tickets $20, $18 (members); $12 students.

For more information: Visit tarponarts.org or call (727) 942-5605.

Tarpon Springs' New Century Opera showcases Mozart's cheerful mood 01/06/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 2:06pm]
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