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The Singing TurkOttoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon$
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Larry Wolff

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804795777

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804795777.001.0001

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“To honor the Emperor”

“To honor the Emperor”

Pasha Selim and Emperor Joseph in the Age of Enlightened Absolutism

(p.188) 6 “To honor the Emperor”
The Singing Turk

Larry Wolff

Stanford University Press

This chapter considers the political and emotional dynamics of Mozart’s Sultan Soliman in Zaide, and then addresses the dramatic portrait of Pasha Selim in the Abduction as a very purposeful effort by the composer to bring himself to the attention of Habsburg Emperor Joseph II. Pasha Selim was made to appear as a model of Ottoman magnanimity which was intended to reflect upon the emperor in the audience at the first performance in 1782. The course of Josephine enlightened absolutism was closely correlated with Mozart’s career in Vienna, and Mozart showed himself a dedicated Josephine with his musical attentions to Joseph’s Turkish war of 1787. This chapter also considers the enormous and persistent success of Grétry’s La Caravane du Caire as a French counterpart to the Abduction in the 1780s, with parallel political implications. The Ottoman accession of Sultan Selim III is discussed in relation to European enlightened absolutism.

Keywords:   Abduction from the Seraglio (Mozart), absolutism, André Grétry, Habsburg-Ottoman war of 1787-1791, Emperor Joseph II, Mozart, Pasha Selim (Abduction), Sultan Selim III, Sultan Soliman (Zaide), Zaide

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