DiscoverEvery Voice with Terrance McKnightAbduction from the Seraglio: A Dream Interrupted
Abduction from the Seraglio:  A Dream Interrupted

Abduction from the Seraglio: A Dream Interrupted

Update: 2023-05-18


In the prime of his illustrious career, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ran in the realm of prominent, Black visionaries, composed the radical (unfinished) opera “Zaide” depicting a slave revolt, and even shared a home with famed Senegalese / French composer Joseph Boulogne, known as the Chevalier de Saint Georges. The Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, a supporter of Mozart, was also progressive for his time. During his reign, he was known for his religious tolerance, abolition of serfdom, and public friendship with Angelo Solimon, a man of African descent.

But having Black friends doesn’t mean you’re willing to sacrifice political standing and a payday. And though both men may have dreamed of a better world, “The Abduction from the Seraglio,'' commissioned by Joseph II,  catered to the harsh reality of the times, oiling the wheels of Europe's economic engine — slavery. 

This week on Every Voice with Terrance McKnight: Sir Williard White as Osmin, the enslaved eunuch, and Soprano Jennifer Welch-Babidge as Blonde navigate the fiction of race as two enslaved characters in “The Abduction from the Seraglio.”

This episode is written, hosted and produced by Terrance McKnight with support from David Norville. The Executive Producer is Tony Phillips. The Executive Producer for WQXR Podcasts is Elizabeth Nonemaker. Our research team includes Ariel Elizabeth Davis, Pranathi Diwakar, Ian George, and Jasmine Ogiste. Sound design and engineering by Alan Goffinski. Original music composed by Jeromy Thomas and Ashley Jackson. Special thanks to the Livermore Valley Opera and the Metropolitan Opera for the use of their performances of “Abduction from the Seraglio.” 

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

A transcript of this episode is available on our website:









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Abduction from the Seraglio:  A Dream Interrupted

Abduction from the Seraglio: A Dream Interrupted

Sir Willard White, Peter Sellars, Jennifer Welch Babbidge, Nathan Stark, Terrance Mcknight, Tony Phillips, David Norville, Kevin Maynor