Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Kunz, Seefried, London|
Mozart: Marriage of Figaro (Complete); Magic Flute (Complete) [Germany]
Listen to Samples
A great Magic Flute in the Viennese tradition
Philip S. Griffey | Bainbridge I. WA USA | 07/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Given v. Karajan's propensity for slow tempi and manner of wrapping everything in shimmering strings, I was prepared not to like this recording. I am happy to report that this is not "Mozart mit Schlag" - or at least not too much. His tempi were moderate yet lively and dramatic, his phrasing was nuanced and the various voices are well balanced. It was recorded in Vienna in 1950; the voices are "miked" very close, but the sound is very good for that era. Dialog is not included.
The Slovenian tenor, Anton Dermota, although severely hampered by the slowest "Dies Bildnis" on record, sang Tamino with a nice legato and tone. His voice, reminds me of Leo Slezak on a smaller scale - it had a silvery quality, but frequently sounded close to breaking on the higher notes. He sang with considerable feeling and a total understanding of Mozartean style. Eric Kunz (Papageno) gives us a very elegant, cosmopolitan bird catcher - more clever rogue than rustic simpleton. His voice here sounds rather higher placed and lighter than usual. He sings attractively, but tries too hard to be gemutlich.
Wilma Lipp (also on the Klemperer and Boehm  recordings) sang The Queen of the Night. Her voice was not large or rich. She handled the technical aspects of the roll fairly well (slight tendency to sing flat) and seems more emotionally involved here than she does on her two later recordings. Irmgard Seefried (Pamina) turns in one of her best recorded performances, sounding appropriately young and innocent, while singing accurately. She sings her big aria well, sounding slightly "hooty" on the highest notes. I would rate her Pamina just behind Stader (Fricsay), Bonney (Harnoncourt) and Roschmann (Abbado). Ludwig Weber (Sarastro) has the requisite deep, dark voice and sings well (better than with Boehm in 1941). He was not an agile singer, and his voice was not as attractive as Frick (Klemperer) nor as smooth between the registers. He is a little unsteady in his second aria, which lies higher than "Isis und Osiris" and is taken really slowly by von Karajan.
This is a very lyrical rendition, with very fine singing. While its sound quality is not quite as good as Klemperer (EMI) or Boehm, I think all three are approximately equal in their appeal. If you want a fleet, historically informed Magic Flute in modern sound, look to Gardiner, Norrington (very fast) or Christie (not so fast). If you want a modern "not too romantic, not too historically informed" but very fine recording, try Abbado's.