Sunday, 14 September 2008

165. Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) (1791)


Title: The Magic Flute
Performers: Peter Schreier, MArgaret Price, Kurt Moll
Director: Sir Colin Davis
Year: 1984
Length 2 hours 10 minutes


This a really fun opera. OK the writing is not to the standard of Da Ponte, but the story is also quite a different one to anything he would have written making it quite interesting. The story is essentially a fairytale with esoteric and masonic overtones.

The fact that it was composed to a more general audience than most other Mozart operas also makes for some great catchy vaudeville tunes. This is particularly true of the arias by Papageno, all of which are memorable. On the other side of the scope of the opera you have the properly high opera arias of the Queen of the Night which are just as equally memorable.

The music is amazing here, this is a singspiele, so the recitatives are just people speaking, no continuo or accompaniment, and for that reason the CD version does away with them. If you know the story and have seen it before and don't understand German you really don't need the recitatives, they are just distracting. So this CD is a great option.

Here you see the birth of German opera as it would be, both in theme and music this is much closer to Wagner than Seraglio. Above all, however, this opera is fun! The most fun you can have, and for good reason it is the ideal opera to introduce children to the whole genre, songs to sing along, giant serpents, an evil queen and a bird-man... what more could you want?

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The opera celebrated its 100th performance in November 1792. Mozart did not have the pleasure of witnessing this milestone, having died of his illness on December 5, 1791.

Queen of the Night:

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