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Opera in English - Mozart: The Magic Flute / Mackerras

Album Summary

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), K. 620
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Sir Charles Mackerras has spent many years researching performance practice of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He is a noted authority on Mozart's operas, having studied many contemporaneous manuscripts and his Mozart recordings are highly regarded. "The lovely, warm soprano of Rebecca Evans shines as Susanna... she captures the right feeling of sensuality of a woman awaiting her lover on her wedding night..." - Classic FM Magazine 'Disc of the Month'

BBC Music Magazine
Of all repertoire operas, none gains more than The Magic Flute from performance in the language of the audience. Musically, the performance is hard to fault. Articulation is light and buoyant, tempos mobile yet never driven or inflexible, textures sharp and transparent. Rebecca Evans, a richer-toned Pamina than usual, movingly portrays her development from ingénue to woman 'worthy to attain the light'. ...Simon Keenlyside is a marvellous Papageno, innocent, vulnerable and funny without clownishness. Barry Banks... sings a positive, un-wimpish Tamino. With his rugged, rolling bass John Tomlinson creates a formidably imposing yet humane Sarastro, while Elizabeth Vidal atones for some cloudy diction with fiery, bang in-tune performances of the Queen of the Night's arias. ...this new performance, beautifully recorded, with a modicum of well-judged sound effects, catches the work's fairytale wonder, solemnity and fun as fully and delightfully as any, irrespective of language.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
No work makes better sense in the vernacular than Mozart's concluding masterpiece. The composer and, assuredly, Schikaneder would have approved of giving the work in the language of the listeners, and when you have to hand such a witty, well-worded translation as that of Jeremy Sams, it makes even better sense. Sir Charles Mackerras has always been an advocate of opera in English when the circumstances are right.

As ever, he proves himself a loving and perceptive Mozartian. Throughout he wonderfully contrasts the warmth and sensuousness of the music for the good characters with the fire and fury of the baddies, and he persuades the LPO to play with a lightness and promptness that's wholly enchanting, quite the equal of most bands on the other available versions.

In no way is his interpretation here inferior to his German one on Telarc; indeed, in the central roles of Tamino and Pamina the casting for Chandos is an improvement, and Keenlyside is fully the equal of Thomas Allen on the Telarc set. Keenlyside's loveable, slightly sad, very human and perfectly sung Papageno is at the centre of things. Rebecca Evans's voice has taken on a new richness without losing any of its focus or delicacy of utterance. Everything she does has sincerity and poise, although her diction might, with advantage, be clearer.

The recording is fine apart from an over-use of thunder and lightning as sound effects. Anyone wanting the work in English needn't hesitate to acquire this set, the first-ever on CD.


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Works Details

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), K. 620
  • Performers: Barry Banks (Tenor); Peter Bronder (Tenor); Celia Chambers (Flute); Majella Cullagh (Soprano); Rebecca Evans (Soprano); Nazan Fikret (Voice); Lesley Garrett; John Graham-Hall (Tenor); Gareth Hancock (Glockenspiel); Victoria Jones (Voice); Simon Keenlyside (Baritone); Diana Montague (Mezzo Soprano); Christopher Purves (Bass); John Tomlinson (Bass); Debbie Tyfield (Voice); Elizabeth Vidal; Sarah Vocal] (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Charles Mackerras
  • Ensemble: Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
  • Notes: Blackheath Halls, London, England (11/04/2004-11/10/2004)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1791