Mozart - Die Zauberflote
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Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Cat No: 4836400
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 2nd August 2019
ArtistsKlaus Florian Vogt
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Die Zauberflöte is the sixth installment, after the very successful productions of Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Grammy Award Nomination), Le nozze di Figaro (Grammy Award Nomination & Echo Klassik Award) and La clemenza di Tito.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung praised Villazón’s “comic talent” in his first Papageno, “achieving ‘heights of emotion’ with the captivating Regula Mühlemann’s Papagena”, as well as the “magical tenor” of Klaus Florian Vogt as Tamino, Christiane Karg’s “lyrically perfect Pamina” and the “imposing” Franz-Josef Selig’s Sarastro. Nézet-Séguin “is a genuine Mozartian ... and rolling out a red carpet for the singers”.
- Tamino: Klaus Florian Vogt
- Pamina: Christiane Karg
- Papageno: Rolando Villazón
- Papagena: Regula Mühlemann
- Sarastro: Franz-Josef Selig
- Königin der Nacht: Albina Shagimuratova
- Monostatos: Paul Schweinester
2Act 1 - Zu Hilfe! Zu Hilfe! Sonst bin ich verloren
3Act 1 - Der Vogelfanger bin ich ja
4Act 1 - Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schon
5Act 1 - O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn!
6Act 1 - Zum Leiden bin ich auserkoren
7Act 1 - Hm, hm, hm, hm
8Act 1 - Du feines Taubchen, nur herein!
9Act 1 - Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen
10Act 1 - Zum Ziele fuhrt dich diese Bahn
11Act 1 - Die Weisheitslehre dieser Knaben
12Act 1 - Wie stark ist nicht dein Zauberton
13Act 1 - Schnelle Fusse, rasche Mut
14Act 1 - Ha, hab ich euch noch erwischt?
15Act 1 - Es lebe Sarastro! Sarastro lebe!
16Act 1 - Herr, ich bin zwar Verbrecherin
17Act 1 - Ja, stolzer Jungling, nur hierher
18Act 1 - Wenn Tugend und Gerechtigkeit
19Act 2 - Marsch der Priester
20Act 2 - O Isis und Osiris
21Act 2 - Bewahret euch vor Weibertucken
22Act 2 - Wie? Wie? Wie? Ihr an diesem Schreckensort?
23Act 2 - Alles fuhlt der Liebe Freuden
24Act 2 - Der Holle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
25Act 2 - In diesen heil'gen Hallen
26Act 2 - Seid uns zum zweiten Mal willkommen
27Act 2 - Ach, ich fuhl's, es ist verschwunden
28Act 2 - Chor der Priester - O Isis und Osiris
29Act 2 - Soll ich dich, Teurer, nicht mehr sehn?
30Act 2 - Ein Madchen oder Weibchen
31Act 2 - Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkunden
32Act 2 - Du also bist mein Brautigam?
33Act 2 - Der, welcher wandert diese Strasse voll Beschwerden
34Act 2 - Wie wandelten durch Feuersgluten
35Act 2 - Papagena! Weibchen! Taubchen!
36Act 2 - Pa-pa-Papagena - Pa-pa-Papageno
37Act 2 - Nur stille, stille, stille, stille!
38Act 2 - Die Strahlen der Sonne vertreiben die Nacht
On record, too, The Magic Flute has had a long and distinguished history, from Beecham in the 1930s, and classic readings under Fricsay, Klemperer, Karajan and Böhm, to period performances from Östman, Norrington and Gardiner, and period-sensitive modern instrument accounts by Harnoncourt, Mackerras and Gardiner. While early recordings omitted the spoken dialogue – much to the work’s detriment – the most successful have been those that give Schikaneder his due (this is as much his opera as Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così are Da Ponte’s). And that is certainly the case with this new version on Deutsche Grammophon, the latest in the critically acclaimed series of mature Mozart operas under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, jointly curated by tenor Rolando Villazón. Made in conjunction with concert performances at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in July 2018, it has a tangibly ‘live’ feel to it, without the distraction of audience or stage noises, and features a starry cast with a couple of notable surprises.
First of these is the hero, Tamino, sung here by a tenor better known in Wagnerian roles, Klaus Florian Vogt. Notwithstanding a slightly nasal twang to the tone, he brings a welcome lyricism to the role, ardent but not over-earnest, and growing into the part as the opera progresses, much as the character develops through the trials and travails of the plot. The other surprise is Villazón himself, moving down in register to sing the show-stealing part of the bird catcher Papageno; he clearly relishes the challenge of this change in Fach, and his engagingly jovial reading is one of the most successful assumptions on disc, striking an ideal balance between high-spirits and genuine emotion in the search for his ideal partner Papagena (sung by an equally entertaining Regula Mühlemann).
Albina Shagimuratova, one of today’s leading exponents of the formidable Queen of the Night, already with two DVD recordings to her credit, at last transfers her portrayal to CD. Not for her the pinpoint clinical accuracy of some, but a vibrant, impassioned reading, full of vocal fire and a more than a hint of Slavic vibrato. Her daughter, the kidnapped heroine Pamina who eventually leads Prince Tamino through the trials of fire and water, is superbly sung by Christiane Karg, intensely moving in her central Act 2 aria ‘Ach, ich fühl’s’, and gently touching in her Act 1 duet with Papageno, ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’. The other standout performance comes from Franz-Josef Selig as Sarastro, warm and generous of tone, authoritative but benevolent in ‘In dieser heil’gen Hallen’; his terzet with Pamina and Tamino, ‘Soll ich dich, Teurer, nicht mehr sehn?’ is one of the recording’s many highlights.
All the minor roles are taken with distinction, not least tenor Paul Schweinster as the lustful Moor Monostatos: his breathtaking performance of ‘Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden’ is a real showstopper, kept light and articulate by Nézet-Séguin and the excellent woodwind players of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. The three ladies are a well-matched trio, the three boys (from the Aurelius Sängerknaben Calw) absolutely delightful.
The RIAS Kammerchor is in excellent voice for the choral scenes, adding to the palpable sense of culmination and dawning enlightenment in the Act 2 finale. This is a performance that really builds towards its final pages, due as much to the pacing of all its performers as to the combined creative skills of Schikaneder and Mozart. As with earlier releases in this series, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe stamp the seal of excellence on the set: stylish, light, solemn where necessary, with gloriously burnished brass, clear-toned but characterful wind (excellent flute solos from Clara Andrada de la Calle), and exceptionally lithe string playing. At the fortepiano and the all-important keyed glockenspiel (for Papageno’s magic bells), Jory Vinikour, no less, in a role once taken by a young Georg Solti at Toscanini’s legendary Salzburg Festival performances.
However, despite the luxury casting, this is not a Flute that takes itself too seriously. After all, this isn’t a work that should be handled too reverentially, even though much of the action takes place in and around temples. Nézet-Séguin, Villazón and their colleagues pitch the mood perfectly between entertainment and spiritual edification, more than making up for the absence of the visual dimension. Indeed, on its own terms this is one of the most sheerly enjoyable and satisfying performances of The Magic Flute on disc, amounting to much more than the sum of its already considerable parts, and both Schikaneder and Mozart would surely have approved of its lightness of touch. ‘Beauty and wisdom’ are the words that close the opera, and they are manifest here in just the right measure, splendidly captured by the DG team and, like all the sets in this cycle, most attractively presented, with full libretto and English translation.
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