THE MAGIC (OF THIS) FLUTE
Shawn Chua | Singapore | 07/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Allow me to start by getting my one and only reservation out of the way. The reservation in question being that all of the spoken dialogue has been excised and being an itegral part of the work, is a detriment. That aside, this recording is simply divine. From start to end, this performance brims with perspective and direction under the direction of Otto Klemperer. Boasting of a star-studded cast like no other, this is THE BEST Magic Flute on record. Klemperer, as usual, adopts a slow and weighty approach, which adds a dimension of authority in the performance. The music is crisply and cleanly read, the singing top-notch and the recording clear and sharp. My vote for the best singing goes to Lucia Popp who gives us her reading of the role of the Queen of the Night. Her two formdibable arias, laced with the most technically demanding and hair-raisingly fiendish coloratura effects, are tossed off with nary a glitch. Instead, what we are treated to is a spot-on execution of the high-wire tessitura. Popp thrills and chills us with her crystal clear voice carrying the role into the stratosphere. This is a Queen of the Night not to mess around with. Nicolai Gedda sings Tamino well, his reliability over the years has us expecting no less than that. Gundula Janowitz breathes new life into Pamina with her cool pure voice. Albeit slightly controlled and constrained, hers is an accurate portrait. Walter Berry charms us with his Papageno. We are further treated to a very distinguished trio of Ladies who are sung by no less than Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig and Marga Hoffen. The Philharmonia Orchestra puts in one of their best work in this recording, responding to the adept leadership of Klemperer."
Greatest music, though leaves out the dialogue.
Marmez1@aol.com | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Magic Flute is a singspiel, meaning that there is music of surpassing beauty with a long spoken dialogue. This performance was one of the last to keep the older tradition of recording just the music and leaving the speaking out. Fussy modern purists may reject it for that reason, but for me Klemperer's interpretation and the magnificent singing win out. I have listened to this very recording scores of times and have always found something new and inspiring with each hearing. Klemperer's tempos are just right -- not the too slow speeds he fell into, for example, in his Beethoven symphonies. This recording strikes just the right balance between the serious and the frivilous. It is a joy to listen to this outstanding opera performed with such energy and beauty. For those who MUST have the full dialogue, I recommend the performance by Mackerras on Teldec. For all others, you will find both depth and beauty in this version by Klemperer."
One of the all time greatest recordings of Zauberflote!
Rod Tierman | 02/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording, like the DGG Bohm recording, has been around for quite a while and in many ways, like the Bohm, has so many things to recommend it. First off let's take the conducting of Otto Klemperer. Klemperer demonstrates a musical flow in this performance that is an absolute MUST in any performance of this Mozart opera, never allowing the singers to drag and keeping things moving on the ensemble pieces. Nicolai Gedda is the Tamino here and the role has never been sung better, equaling, as one reviewer here put it, the great German Mozart Tenor Fritz Wunderlich. Gedda's voice sounds so lyric and effortless here, prompting one into thinking that this could be one of the great Tenor's greatest recordings. The late Lucia Popp's Queen of the Night is definitely a big plus on this recording. Her singing here is so effortless, so utterly breathtaking here, one has to remind themselves that these sounds are being produced by a human voice. On her Queen of the Night aria, Popp sings her high notes like she is just plucking them out of thin air. This reviewer has never heard this role sung so effortlessly. The Papageno of Walter Berry is perfect, producing just the right amount of flow and lighheartedness to this greatest of Mozartean comedic roles. The Sarastro of Gottolob Frick is absolutely priceless here. Frick produces such rich melodious tones here, especially in the lower register, without ever getting carried away with the sound of his own beautiful voice (listen to "In diesen Heiligen Hallen" for example). This recording has so much going for it to recommend it. As mentioned by other reviewers, the dialoge is omitted here, but this performance is so purely top notch, one does not miss it. If you must have the dialoge, get the Bohm set with Wunderlich, Lear, and Peters on DGG, but if the dialoge is not important, this is an excellent set to own."