The cast for this recording of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain unique insight into the libretto—they were able to reenact the opera in full costume on the grounds of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul—the site of the actual Imperial Harem in Turkey. The cast was filmed on location for a joint project between Antelope Productions, the BBC, and the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, in association with Turkish radio and television. This recording was made in Scotland as an accompanying soundtrack for the film, which was produced and directed by Antelope's Mick Csaky. The opera was staged and directed by Elijah Moshinsky. The 90-minute film, which contains documentary sections illustrating the creative processes involved in staging and producing the opera, is scheduled to air in the United Kingdom sometime later this year.
This is Sir Charles's fifth Mozart opera recording for Telarc, all featuring the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Chorus. Previous, highly acclaimed recordings include: Don Giovanni (CD-80420); The Marriage of Figaro (CD-80388); Cosi fan Tutte (CD-80360); and The Magic Flute (CD-80302). Sir Charles has taken a particular interest in studying the performance practices of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For Telarc he has recorded all of the Mozart symphonies and serenades (with the Prague Chamber Orchestra), several Haydn symphonies, the Handel Water Music; and more recently, a highly praised set of the Brahms symphonies and serenades with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
The distinguised cast of singers for this recording includes the Turkish coloratura soprano Yelda Kodalli, who has garnered international acclaim for her roles as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, as well as the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Gilda in Rigoletto. Also featured is tenor Paul Groves, well known to audiences at the Metropolitan Opera for his roles as Ferrando in Cosi…, Fenton in Falstaff, Tamino in The Magic Flute, and appearances in Ariadne auf Naxos, Death in Venice, Fidelio, Der Rosenkavalier, and many others. The Sicilian soprano Desiree Rancatore made her operatic debut at the Salzburg Festival in 1996, followed by numerous engagements in Europe to sing roles in Le Nozze di Figaro, Carmen, Parsifal, and Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail.