“Setting: the 1920s. All the action takes place on the Orient Express, en route from Paris to Istanbul”. That might have come as a surprise to Mozart. But James Robinson’s stylish 1997 production of The Abduction from the Seraglio, now acquired by Welsh National Opera, looks fantastic.
The set comprises three luxury railway carriages; we’re in the cocktail-and-tuxedo world of Hercule Poirot and Bertie Wooster.
And it works, creating a convincingly artificial world for Mozart’s less-than-plausible comedy.
How can Belmonte (a dapper, light-toned Robin Tritschler) and Pedrillo (Wynne Evans, on fine blustering comic form) use a ladder to escape from a moving train?
Robinson’s answer is that of course, they can’t – and the ensuing pratfalls prompted genuine laughter.