Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte
Mozart: Die Zauberflöte Mozart: Die Zauberflöte Mozart: Die Zauberflöte Mozart: Die Zauberflöte Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (click images to enlarge)

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

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Manufacturer Description

The internationally renowned Mozart interpreter Sir Colin Davis conducts the chorus and orchestra of the Royal Opera House and a glittering cast in David McVicar's 2003 production of Mozart's last opera recorded, in sumptuous surround sound, live at Covent Garden. Recorded in High Definition.

Press Reviews
"This production's slow journey from darkness into the light…works well on the small screen, not least thanks to high-definition camera work and Sue Judd's inspired direction for television. The real magic, though, is supplied by the onstage cast...In Dorothea Röschmann's hands, Pamina emerges not so much a powerless victim of Fate but more as a passionate woman prepared to suffer in the nameof love. Her natural command of the stage is sagely employed by McVicar...Diana Damrau's supremely sung Queen of the Night oozes class, while Simon Keenlyside's profoundly human, touchingly sympathetic view of Papageno deserves an Olivier Award." (Classic fM)

"...a mellow warmth that was deeply satisfying. Simon Keenlyside...a triumph as quite the most engaging Papageno I have ever encountered...With an exceptional Queen of the Night, Diana Damrou, this is an evening no Mozart lover should miss..." (The Mail on Sunday)

Simon Keenlyside (Papageno)
Dorothea Röschmann (Pamina)
Will Hartmann (Tamino)
Diana Damrau (Queen of the Night)
Franz-Josef Selig (Sarasto)
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Sir Colin Davis

Company: The Royal Opera
Stage Director: David McVicar

Disc Information
Catalogue Number: OA0886D
Date of Performance: 2003
Running Time: 185 minutes
Sound: Dolby Surround; Dolby Stereo
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Subtitles: EN, ES
Label: Opus Arte

It’s hard to find a DVD version of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte that’s as well sung as this 2003 Covent Garden production. Led by the eminent Mozartian, Sir Colin Davis, orchestra and singers present a warm, often intense vision of the opera, not as the fairy tale it’s often taken for, but as a human drama of the passage from misguided beliefs to mature knowledge of self. Diana Damrau is the Queen of the Night for our time, with show-stopping bravura singing that tosses off the score’s terrifying high notes with almost casual abandon. Her acting and her fright outfit never leave you in doubt that she’s the evil presence here, even when she’s pretending to be a good mom concerned about her daughter, Pamina. Dorothea Röschmann is superb, floating pianissimo notes to die for and singing with a beautifully rounded soprano allied to a dramatic sense that make her Ach, ich fuhl's so moving. Will Hartman is a virile Tamino, a bit heavier of voice than most of the lyric tenors who take the role, but singing well. Like most Tamino’s, he’s upstaged by Papageno, the bird-catcher who’s his sidekick. Baritone Simon Keenlyside offers the best-sung Papageno one could hope to hear, and while he’s funny in many of his more physical scenes, he replaces the usual clownish buffoon with an earth-bound Everyman. The noble Sarastro, the lovers’ guide to self-realization, is well sung by Franz-Josef Selig, whose ample bass easily encompasses the low Fs that make most basses sound strained.

The smaller roles are done well, too. Ailish Tynan has a romp as Papagena; the evil Monostatos is done to vocal and acting perfection by Adrian Thompson, the Queen’s Three Ladies are well-matched and appropriately edgy, and the Temple Priests are convincingly sung and acted. This production of Die Zauberflöte is a dark one. Producer David McVicar and conductor Davis reject the relatively recent transformation of the opera into a Disney-like romp for kids. The comic element in the opera is there, but its philosophical underpinnings--humanity’s fitful progress to a higher plane – are paramount. There are still plenty of laughs with the fake dragon that pursues Tamino at the opera’s opening and Papageno’s funny business with a bird, among other chuckle-inducing scenes. But the production’s Stygian backgrounds make for an oppressive setting. When light enters, as in the pomp of Sarastro’s entry or the blazing yellow disc of the sun that conquers darkness, the opera’s meanings are crystal-clear. Most of the characters wear 18th Century outfits, to comic effect as Monostatos’ heavy makeup, lipsticked mouth, and elaborate wig. But there are occasional incongruities: Tamino’s smock, the Three Boys’ knit sweaters and short pants, and Papagana’s mangy fur coat, among others. They’re well intregrated into the staging so they don’t jar. Nor, aside from the occasional too-tight closeups, does the video direction. In the special features, Davis speaks of the opera’s tension between "lighthearted music and the seriousness of the story," and all elements of this production fuse those key aspects in a way that makes this DVD a joy to hear and watch. Dan Davis

Die Zauberflöte is an all-regions 2-disc set in 16:9 ratio. Sound options include Dolby Stereo and 5.1 Surround. Sung in German with subtitles in English and Spanish. Extras include an illustrated synopsis, a behind the scenes feature of the production, and Sir Colin Davis talking about Die Zauberflöte

Key Product Details

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Genre: Musicals & Performing Arts/Classical

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