Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon

CHAPTER FIVE:  Osmin in Vienna: Mozart’s Abduction and the Centennial of the Ottoman Siege

Mozart, Abduction from the Seraglio (Vienna 1782)
OSMIN:  “Solche hergelaufen Laffen” (Such vagabond dandies)
(performed by Jamaican-British basso Willard White)

at 3:10 “Ich hab’ auch Verstand”
at 3:52 “Drum, beim Barte des Propheten!”


Mozart, Abduction (Vienna 1782)
OSMIN:  “Erst geköpft, dann gehangen,
              Dann gespiesst auf heisse Stangen”
                  (First beheaded, then hung,
                   then impaled on hot stakes)
(performed by German basso Artur Korn)

at 6:55 “Erst geköpft”

Mozart, Abduction (Vienna 1782)
Osmin and Pedrillo sing together, “Vivat Bacchus! Bacchus lebe!” 
(Long live Bacchus!)
Osmin hesitatingly wonders “whether I dare?  whether I should drink?  whether Allah can see it?” but then surrenders to temptation, and the two men sing together in comradely brotherhood:
“Es leben die Mädchen, die Blonden, die Braunen.”
(Long live girls, the blonde ones, the dark ones.)
When they return to “Vivat Bacchus!” (1:30) the Turkish percussion now joins the accompaniment to underline the cross-cultural harmony of the duet.  


Mozart, Zaide (1779-1780, unfinished)
Mozart’s other Osmin, in the service of Sultan Soliman in Zaide, has a very different temperament from his more celebrated namesake in the Abduction.
Far from raging, like the Osmin of the Abduction, the Osmin of Zaide prefers to eat and drink, and he laughs— ha ha ha!— at “whoever whimpers, moans, cries out, and curses” (wer winselt, jammert, schreit und flucht). 

Wer hungrig bei der Tafel sitzt          
und schmachtend Speis’ und Trank nicht nützt,
mag selbst sein Glück nicht machen.
Er is fürwahr ein ganzer Narr.
Wer soll nicht drüber lachen, ha ha ha!
               Whoever sits hungry at the table
               and, languishing, doesn’t take food or drink,
               does not want to make his own fortune.
               He is truly a complete fool.
                  Who would not laugh about that? ha ha ha!