Notes & Reviews:
The year's most eagerly anticipated opera recording has finally arrived: Mozart's 'Die Zauberflote' conducted by Rene Jacobs. The great Belgian maestro's previous Mozart opera recordings have won the industry's highest awards - from Gramophone's 'Record of the Year' to a 2004 Grammy award for 'Le nozze di Figaro'. This new recording represents the culmination of Jacobs' Mozart opera series. After showing us a different way of looking at the Da Ponte trilogy and taking a profoundly innovative approach to the two great opere serie, Jacobs 'magically' unifies the complex artistic and psychological aspects of 'Die Zauberflote'. Scholar, artist, alchemist - Jacobs fuses the opposing strands of Mozart's tale of light and dark, fire and water, the heavens and the Earth, heroes and villains and comedy and drama into a performance as enchanting as it is profound. The set's luxury package includes a 314 page booklet with a full libretto in German, English and French.
"Rene Jacobs' Mozart opera recordings are among the most hotly discussed classical sets of recent years. Revelations are everywhere." -The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Jacobs' Mozart opera series [is] one of the recorded marvels of our time." -Gramophone
"A joy from start to finish, and not just from a musical point of view. Jacobs tackles the dialogue like a radio drama, with a cast that can act, witty fortepiano commentary, and striking sound effects. The eloquence of the singing, the dramatic flair of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and the convincing reintegration of words and music allow this Flute to weave its magic with more refreshing immediacy than ever before." -BBC Music Awards nominee, 2011
"The star is tenor Daniel Behle, whose Tamino is the finest on disc since Fritz Wunderlich. Jacobs opts on occasion for exaggerated speeds, whether fast or slow. The playing is excellent." -The Guardian
"The principal singers inhabit their roles as persuasively as possible for such an absurdly mythopoeic fairytale, with Daniel Behle a noble Tamino and baritone Daniel Schmutzhard particularly effective as Papageno." -The Independent
"From the violently arresting opening chords of the overture, it is clear this Die Zauberflöte is not going to be routine...but to anyone who feels that they know the opera inside out, it’s an exhilarating wake-up call...the entire cast sings with meticulous musicality, and the RIAS Chamber Choir and Akademie für Alte Musik could hardly be bettered." -The Daily Telegraph
"Some of his tempi and abrupt gear changes will disturb purist Mozartians, but his youthful cast gives huge pleasure: Marlis Petersen’s radiant Pamina, Daniel Behle’s lyrical, aristocratic Tamino and Daniel Schmutzhard’s garrulous Papageno are among the finest sung on disc, and Anna-Kristiina Kappola’s steely-toned Queen of the Night doesn’t miss a stitch in her coloratura runs." -The Sunday Times
BBC Music Magazine
This is a total experience, perfectly tailored for private listening. René Jacobs thinks of it as a Hörspiel: it's a play to be heard - I don't know a recorded Zauberflöte more thrillingly alive with fantasy, profoundly musical imagination, real magic, and real fun too.
Classic FM Magazine
There's much to savour in the individual performances here, with often-sublime singing.
As ever, Jacobs favours lively speeds, light articulation and pungent, colourful textures...I suspect I shall reach for this new recording as often as any, for its bubbling, crackling theatricality and an eager, yet unforced, sense of fun that never short-changes the opera's central message of human enlightenment.
Fresh, lively, quick-witted - and characteristically full of liberties...The solo singing is impeccably schooled and dramatically believable...Daniel Schmutzhard makes the most of his Viennese Papageno. Daniel Behle is the thoughtful Tamino, Marlis Petersen a virginal Pamina.
Graham Rogers, bbc.co.uk
With a generally youthful cast boasting some lovely voices, the music is equally captivating. Jacobs is all about excitement and making the most of orchestral detail...Full of surprises, Jacobs's account is a real game-changer: we will never listen to this multi-faceted masterpiece in the same way again.
Recording information: Teldex Studio Berlin (11/2009).
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Works DetailsMozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), K. 620
- Conductor: René Jacobs
- Running Time: 31 min. 50 sec.
- Period Time: Classical
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1791