opera/music theatre - W.A. MOZART / WIM HENDERICKX / RAMSEY NASR

This work EEN TOTALE ENTFÜHRUNG (A Total Abduction) was commissioned by Muziektheater Transparant.
The première in deSingel in Antwerp in 2006 was followed by a tour in Belgium and the Netherlands.

It is a personal dramatic version of Mozarts opera 'Die Entführung aus dem Serail' by Wim Henderickx and Ramsey Nasr (Dutch-Palestinian actor, director and poet).

The singers are performing parts of the original Mozart arias in German.
Wim Henderickx rewrote this opera for 12 musicians accompanied by 3 percussionists, playing on typical Turkish instruments (riq, derbuka, bendir).
The opera ends with a new aria written for Bassa Selim. His wordless, complaining and oriental song evolves into a contemporary musical language. 

The spoken text (by actors playing a double role with some of the singers) is written in different Flemish and Dutch dialects by Ramsey Nasr.

Ramsey Nasr about 'Die Entführung aus dem Serail':

'Die Entführung aus dem  Serail' is set in the Orient, at the court of Bassa Selim, where a number of westerners have also arrived.  The production draws on the writings and influence of Edward Said and his thinking on Orientalism - the image of the Easterner in the eyes of the West, which would have been the image that Mozart probably had about the 'Turk', who at the time of writing was gathering his armies at the gates of Vienna. Yet The Abduction from the Seraglio also gives a voice to the East: Bassa Selim and his servant Osmin have their opportunities to voice opinions about the Westerners, - Belmonte, Pedrillo, Konstanze and Blonde -  and their views too are more often than not based equally on prejudice and false premise.  In a sense, then, the piece is equally about Occidentalism, the theory put forward by thinkers like Buruma and Margalith, as a somewhat expected reaction to Said's writing on Orientalism.

Since I'm half Palestinian and half Dutch, some people probably do expect me to concentrate on the Oriental: a political piece about the Middle East, with an Arab orchestra dressed as soldiers bringing some eastern promise to the story.Which in itself is reason enough not to fulfil that expectation. Though, for me, this piece is about something more important - The Abduction from the Seraglio isn't simply a fable about East and West, but also a way into looking at people as a whole. The opera may be partly about how we see each other, but also about how we see ourselves. We all take on something of how we think others see us. Mozart's piece is an attempt to seek out what is true and what fake, what is reality and what is fantasy."

Ramsey Nasr and Wim Henderickx (2006)


Available with Wim Henderickx


Norsk Musikforlag (publisher)


opera/music theatre - for 4 singers, 6 actors and small orchestra (15 musicians)
(+/- 150')
Composition and orchestration by Wim Henderickx 
Direction and text by Ramsey Nasr
Singers: soprano (2), tenor (2)
instrumentation: fl (+picc), ob (+engl hn), cl, bsn / 2 hns, tpt / perc (3 pl) / vln1, vln2, vla, vlc, db
Percussion 1: Derbuka, Riq  (Turkish tambourine)
Percussion 2: Riq, Derbuka
Percussion 3: Bendir (Arabic frame drum), Derbuka

first performance: September 13, 2006 by musicians of the Beethoven Academie conducted by Koen Kessels
Singers: Christian Baumgärtel, Rena Granieri, Selma Harkink, Peter Gijsbertsen.
Actors: Jan Decleir, Els Dottermans, Annet Malherbe, Tom Dewispelaere, Stefaan Degand, Najib Sherradi