Canzone | California | 09/18/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There isn't really any reason to purchase this set unless you are a particular fan of one of the performers. There isn't a single performance that isn't bettered elsewhere, including the conducting - though Karajan isn't as wayward here as he could be. All in all, an average recording, certainly not woth the asking price. But I can't agree with the other reviewer about the Fricsay set; sure, it's old, but every role is done better than it's counterpart here - and the conducting is superior to Karajan's in every way. If you can live with the older mono sound, the Fricsay would be a much better buy."
Wonderful but overlooked Flute
Yi-Peng | Singapore | 01/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This digital DG recording of Mozart's comic masterpiece is truly an excellent recording, but one that has been sadly overlooked by many people who love to listen to recordings of the opera. The strong cast shows singers like Jose van Dam (as a dark and firm Sarastro) and Edith Mathis (as a sweet-toned Pamina) on top form and in their element when they sing their roles. Francisco Araiza makes as lyrical a Tamino as Gottfried Hornik a light, if somewhat staid Papageno, and Karin Ott's Queen of the Night could do with just a little bit more power and weight. This recording shows that Karajan can be restrained when he chooses to, and it is definitely true here, since Karajan does not conduct this score with as teutonic a feel as he does with Beethoven and Wagner. Although the documentation and libretto are both top-notch, I feel that now with today's CD technology, the whole recording (including the dialogue) can fit onto a 2-CD set without trouble. DG should have reissued this recording in its twofer series, instead of the Fricsay version. This makes this set seem expensive, but this can be forgiven because it was released in the infancy of audio CD technology, when CDs could not take up as much music as today. Perhaps this can be corrected, but this will not stop people from really enjoying an overlooked Zauberflote, which shows Karajan's affinity with the music (this is his second recording.)"
Doesn't deserve to be forgotten
Roberto | SF, USA | 08/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Somehow, this record entered the oblivion. It was the first digital recording ever released by DG and maybe the engineers were still learning the new technology. The recording suffers from low dynamic balance, but this have a good side effect of enhancing the subtleties of the pianissimos. The secret is not to listen to this recording loud. So why my 5 starts? Two words: Edith Mathis. Her legato on Pamina's second act aria deserves 5, 6, 7, 8, infinite starts. As for everybody else, it is a great cast. I own this CD for several years and it still amazes me."