chapter  9
15 Pages

Mozart, Islam, and the Hangman of Salzburg

WithKurt Palm

This essay looks at Orientalist depictions of Ottoman settings and characters in the work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his librettist Gottlieb Stephanie, with a special emphasis on The Abduction from the Seraglio. It argues that the depiction of Ottoman violence, torture, and execution in Mozart’s work was inspired by common methods of punishment in eighteenth-century Salzburg, which Mozart had witnessed in person, rather than being based on true accounts of the Ottoman empire, to which Mozart and Stephanie had access.