Abduction from the Seraglio is gaining popularity across the country because of its sheer entertainment value, accessibility, and producability.
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CAST BIOS and more.
English lyrics by Josh and Kelsey Namara Shaw
Original production at the Southern Illinois Music Festival, June 2014.
Second production (pictured) at Pacific Opera Project, March 2015.
Third production at
Scenic City Opera in Chattanooga, TN
Fourth production at
Opera Piccola in San Antonio, TX, Feb 2016
Fifth production at
Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, CA, August 2016
Sixth production at
The Ford Amphitheatre in
Hollywood, CA, Sept 2016
Seventh production at
Salt Marsh Opera in
Stonnington, CT, Oct 2016
Eighth production at Opera Orlando, June 2018
Ford Amphitheatre Sept. 2016
Opera Piccola San Antonio Feb. 2016
Festival Opera July 2016
Pacific Opera Project March 2015
Salt Marsh Opera Oct. 2016
Southern Il. Music Fest. June 2014
Belmonte vs. Gorn
Epic Rap Battle
Ask the Captain
SELECTED REVIEWS-CLICK THE PERIODICAL TITLE TO READ THE FULL REVIEW
“The staging is yet another creative bit of genius from Josh Shaw, the raw creative force and driving factor... Abduction from the Sergalio is over-the-top homage to the series and its lead characters... And it works in a big way... a tribute to a series embedded in pop culture itself and exposure to live music, Mozart, singing, playing...it appears Shaw and his troupe has succeeded in their mission. I am not a fan, well, I'm not a fan of traditional opera; Pacific Opera Project-- I love.
And others like L.A. Opera are taking note and staging unconventional presentations of classics all around the country. Opera is reinventing, changing, and reaching for millennials. Shaw is bringing them in, hundreds at a time, along with the older opera crowd looking for something new and fresh... It's fun to find something new, something groundbreaking, an expansion and growth of art that's thriving; dreams being reached instead of dashed in a business of broken hopes. In five years the troupe will have their choice of stages and stars...”
“Don’t question it. The results are strangely glorious. And whether you are a rabid Star Trek fan or just versed enough to get by in pop culture, this zany and pitch-perfect opera triumphs in pure laugh-out-loud hilarity... the wordplay of the English translation was excellent. Josh Shaw, artistic director of POP, spearheaded this entertaining comedy and did a fabulous job in concept and execution of “bold” new vision. This version brings Mozart’s music, and opera as a genre, to a whole new audience, for which I am grateful... It is a shame so few shows were shown. Hopefully, publicity and audience enthusiasm will bring this fabulous and entertaining opera back into theatres soon!”
“This is not like any opera text you have ever heard and it generated laughs from the entire audience due to the comical and overly sexual nature of Shaw's new English libretto... The new libretto is heavy on laughs and is sure to quote nearly every catch phrase and iconic line from the much-loved sci-fi series. But not to worry if you are not a Trekker and have no knowledge of the inside references and jokes placed throughout the opera. The story is complete unto itself, so don't worry if you fail to understand the laughs from the rest of the Trekker-filled audience... sold-out shows certainly reflect the popularity of Star Trek as well as opera fans in Los Angeles. I am sorry to say there have been no additional performances added after this weekend, a fact I hope will soon be remedied by Josh Shaw and Stephen Karr as I know once word gets out, this marvelous production would continue to sell out for months at the El Portal or anywhere else it is staged. Live long and prosper!"
“...yet another highly innovative and fun production from the little opera company that could...they are achieving what many big opera companies are attempting to do — introduce opera to a wider audience... it is wonderful to see accomplished opera singers who can also parody these Starship Enterprise and Klingon characters and make them such fun, while delivering the intended musical beauty and congruency. Mozart would be proud... I hope that POP will be able to extend their performances in the near future so that more people can have the opportunity to discover this great company.”
The leap from Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" to a Star Trek television series spoof is a jump as long as outer space. But the comic conversion worked in the sense that Opera Piccola, in its fourth season, drew its largest audience ever, 700 people, selling out the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre...Opera often is spoofed, such as in cartoons and television shows, but in this "Abduction from the Seraglio," opera is used to spoof the Star Trek series, which turns 50 years old this year. But this show made fun of opera, too, adding to the fun.
"Opera and science fiction have always occupied distinct realms, but Mozart and "Star Trek" come together seamlessly in Festival Opera's new production of "Abduction from the Seraglio." Josh Shaw's riotously funny staging of the composer's 1782 singspiel, cast with familiar characters from the "Star Trek" franchise, seems tailor-made to bring Mozart lovers and Trekkies together under one roof -- and keep them laughing for nearly three hours... A few minutes into this witty mashup, it becomes clear that the director's concept works like a charm... Paired with Mozart's dazzling arias, duets and ensembles, it all sounds natural and eminently singable. The spoken dialogue has a freewheeling feel, with jokes, rim shots and colorful asides."
"Comic operas are rarely hilarious. A good Fledermaus or Barber of Seville might get you chuckling on occasion, but it won’t have you holding your head in your hands fighting bursts of uncontrollable laughter. Normally, The Abduction from the Seraglio wouldn’t either, but Josh Shaw’s libretto and staging, which turns the Mozart Singspiel into a cheesy Star Trek parody, does the trick."
“Pacific Opera Project proudly presented one of the most colorfully originally produced opera’s I have ever seen. It’s so funny, it’s so charming... The book and clever lyrics were written by Josh Shaw, who designed and directed this wonderful piece and staying true to spirit of the Mozart’s music but with fun and fantastic twists that had the audience laughing and applauding with each song throughout the entire operatic production... something the whole family will definitely enjoy! You must ‘warp speed’ over and find them whenever they are near to you.”
"Abduction from the Seraglio has shown once again that, with a dash of cleverness and a heaping helping of cheekiness, it’s possible to rekindle the relevance of centuries-old operas for new audiences...Is it possible that all the pop culture campiness made this production off-putting or irrelevant for the more (ahem)mature audiences? Not that I could see. Star Trek will be 50 years old next year, and it may pain many of the original Trekkies to realize it, but those silver-haired folks sitting in the expensive seats? That’s you."
"I’ll confess that I approached the Pacific Opera Project’s Star Trek- themed production of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio with some trepidation. Not because I’m an opera purist who believes that operatic interpretations are sacrosanct, and definitely not because I mistrust POP’s Artistic Director, Josh Shaw, whose inventive productions I have enjoyed. It really was about the fact that I’d never really watched Star Trek, in any of its incarnations, and assumed that I would be lost in a sea of inside jokes. I needn’t have worried... to be honest, Shaw’s effervescent adaptation is nearly as concerned with sending up operatic conventions as creating a Star Trek parody... Shaw’s witty adaptation is sleek, funny and filled with double entendres not allowable on 60’s network television. Almost more impressive is the singability of the lines. Though there are supertitles, one rarely needs to consult them. A tribute to the cast’s diction as well.
In short: beam yourself there, or fly (at Warp 5 speed) but do not miss the last two performances in Oakland Calif on August 8th & 9th! For those who have never before attended a live opera and feel they would never "understand" or appreciate the loooong evening of confusing plots and serious music, this uniquely fun production is THE perfect vehicle for a first-time experience. The music is all Mozart's, and the extreme vocal techniques required by the featured soloists are still just as daunting - it's just that they also have to remember "different" words, and while singing their technically demanding arias they have to also manage to embody totally iconic, culturally recognizable Star Trek characters, and anjoy making the audience laugh while not "losing it" themselves, vocally, in this outragiously fun farce. And they succeeded on all fronts! Librettist/Stage Director Josh Shaw is a complete genius, for coming up with this transformation, but one also can't possibly imagine this production and concept ever succeeding without tenor Brian Cheney's totally over-the-top, perfect parody of Willam Shatner's original version of Captain Kirk (named Captain James T Belmonte in this Mozart opera version).
Runtime 2hrs 10minutes, plus one intermission
Sung in English (and a little Klingon) with English Dialogue
Abduction is an incredibly affordable opera to produce. It is a producer's dream. The idea came from the word "Abduction". That got me thinking about "alien abudction". After doing a little research, it was the low cost of the sets and costumes that sold me. The Original Series of Star Trek was constantly under threat of being canceled and money was almost as tight as it is for opera companies these days. The sets were often reused from other shows or consisted entirely of papier mache rocks in front of a cyc. I thought, "Now I can work with that!" The truth is, it turned out better than I could have ever imagined. This production is definitely a paradoy and homage to the much-loved series.
Casting -- In addition to the six principals (one speaking role), the chorus size is very flexible and could work with as few as 6 men and 10 women. The Pacific Opera Project production (pictured) had 14 men and 22 women.
Orchestra-- the original scoring is for 27 players. Reductions are readily available.
Costumes are available for rental through Pacific Opera Project for all the principals, the Gorn, and up to 15 Klingons and 25 Slave Girls. Wigs are included. The majority of the props are also included in a costume rental (phasers, bat'leths, disuptors, communicators, and shackles).
Lighting -- A cyclorama and sufficient instruments to light it are essential. At least two smoke machines. A projector powerful enough to project images on a partially lit cyc (titles, sound effects, and projections have been operated from one projector in the previous productions). Sound system for voiceovers and special effects which can be attached to a laptop. Lighting can be as complicated or simple as you like. No spotlights needed typically. Very few specials. General washes of green, amber, red and blue for the entire stage. The ability to make all colors on the cyc is paramount. Two hand-held or positionable lights in the wings for gunshot effects. Everything beyond this—intelligent lights, gobos, etc are wonderful, but not essential.
A projector and basic sound system are needed for the overture video and a few special effects. Typically the supertitles, sound effects, and projections are run from the same powerpoint and projector. At least two smoke machines are needed.
Rights and Rental include a PDF of the piano score with all lyrics and dialogue, supertitles and projections. Marketing materials including photos, video, and previous press releases and reviews are available for an additional charge. Please direct all questions and request directly to Josh Shaw at
To see much more about this production including bios of the POP production, please visit the POP website HERE.