Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - The Magic Flute / Ostman Biel Dahlberg Drottningholm Court Theatre|
Actors: László Polgár, Ann Christine Biel, Inger Blom, Stefan Dahlberg, Birgit Louise Frandsen
Director: Thomas Olofsson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
A delightful fairy tale, Mozart's final operatic legacy remains a great work in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Intertwining music of awesome purity and beauty with the conventions of musical comedy, it explores Man's sea... more »
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(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an absolutely wonderful production of the magic flute - creative, unpretenetious, theatrical, with a true sense of fun. The production is given in a small 18th century theater with an orchestra of period instrumentalists led by Arnold Ostmann. This is not a slick powerhouse virtuoso performance, a la the Met. If you are interested primarily in the performance aspect - ie. technical ability, accuracy, intonation, etc., this might not be the peformance for you. I do not mean to suggest that the technical abilities of the performers are not up to the task - quite the contrary - but this is a production where the whole adds up to more than the sum of its parts. The orchestra is very good, with an attractively transparent and silvery sound. The three principals filling the roles of Tamino, Pamina and Papageno are all excellent. They each possess attractive voices, and just as importantly, there are each very good actors. This is not the kind of production where the singers stand like a log in the middle of the stage to deliver their arias. They are constantly active, always acting the part. Papageno, in particular, is a delight - one of the best I've ever seen.The queen of the night takes her arias VERY fast, faster then I've ever heard. She manages most of the high notes, but intonation is spotty in a few places. Vocally, it is passable, and the musical interpretation is rather idiosyncratic, but in terms of her appearance and acting she is wonderful - she gives off a subtly creepy vibe that is entirely appropriate to the role.The three ladies are well done, as are the three boys (sung by young women). Sarastro, Monostatos and Papagena are also very good indeed, especially Sarastro. Papageno's final duet with Papagena is absolutely delightful, and a highlight of the performance.Sound quality is okay though rather soft-grained - I found it useful to turn up the volume a bit higher than usual, after which everything came into focus, and the sound was actually quite good. Stereo only, however. Picture quality is not so good, unfortunately. Rather grainy, with less-than-ideal contrast between light and dark, and some serious streaking. However, I found that the musical and theatrical virtues of this production so far outweigh the problems with the picture quality, that it did not detract from my enjoyment in any way. Of the productions of Zauberflote available on DVD, I much preferred this DVD to the minimalist production available on Arthaus, led by Wolfgang Gonnenwien. While not a bad performance, it is totally outcharmed by this delightful production. I have not seen the entire Met DVD, but I have seen a few clips from it on a DG sampler, and found the slick, hard-driven sound of the orchestra not to my liking. Those looking for a gentler alternative would do well to check out this release. 5 stars."
It is just right!
Thomas W. Andrews | Portland, OR United States | 09/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This production does everything right. Why is Arnold Ostman's conducting so underrated in the U.S.?- He is masterful, and this production is with period instruments! the cast could not be better. Anyone ELSE out there let down by Battle's MET performance? Here's your relief. This production does ALOT with very little- forget about special effects, This lets you simply enjoy the story, humor, and great cast! The Queen of the night is refreshingly flirty with Pamino and more connected to the storyline than in most productions. Stefan Dahlberg is superb. A must for your library!"
Charming performance - save for one shocking piece of castin
Ingrid Heyn | Melbourne, Australia | 03/09/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In many respects, this is a lovely performance. Stefan Dahlberg is superb as Tamino - what a lovely tone and secure technique he has, and this is one tenor who looks the part, too. While I'm not a huge fan of Ann Christine Biel, she does a good job with Pamina here - it's not as good a performance as Barbara Bonney or Lucia Popp in the role, but it's nice work, nonetheless. The Sarastro is very nice indeed - a good true bass without any problems. Papageno is sung delightfully with a light touch.
The sense throughout is one of intimacy and charm... So far, so good.
But there is one thing that marrs this for me beyond words. Birgit Louise Frandsen sings the Queen of the Night - or, no, to be frank, she attempts to sing the Queen of the Night.
It is the most unforgivable piece of miscasting I've encountered in my life. I do not exaggerate. How CAN it have escaped the attention of the previous reviewers that this soprano has so little coloratura ability that all she succeeds in doing is shredding the role entirely? During the triplets in her second aria, Der Hölle Rache, the conductor ACTUALLY SLOWS DOWN THE TEMPO to half-speed in order to give her a chance of negotiating the notes. The voice itself is like sandpaper and blancmange - irritating and with distressing wobbles.
Had a good Königin been cast in this pivotal role, I'd have given this DVD a 4.5 to 5 star rating. I feel I'd be dishonest, however, in assigning it more than 3 stars to "forgive" the atrocious Queen of the Night.
This is a DVD to own for the sake of the other singers, in particular the wonderful Dahlberg. I feel ashamed that I have to fast-forward some of the most spectacular music Mozart ever composed just to watch this otherwise lovely DVD."
An 18th Century-Style "Magic Flute" Filled With Old-World Ch
Pamina | LA | 06/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Filmed at the Drottningholm Court Theatre in Sweden (the same theatre where Ingmar Bergman set his classic film of "The Magic Flute" 14 years earlier), this production of Mozart's last opera is infused with a delicious 18th century feel. Its simple, wing-and-drop sets reflect the Europe of Mozart's own time, as do the costumes, with most of the principle characters in court dress, and Papageno, Papagena and the chorus in peasant garb. Anyone looking for a lavish fairy-tale "Flute" will probably be disappointed by this production's intimate simplicity, but personally, I like its quaint, Old World feel. Furthermore, all the characters are portrayed as believable, engaging human beings, not just dime-a-dozen fairy-tale archetypes. The Queen of the Night is a convincingly distraught mother as well as a villainess. Sarastro has his own fears and anger even amidst his wisdom and kindness. The three Boys are an adorably impish trio, not just deus ex machinas. Papageno is a lovably earthy, mischievous presence, not just goofy comic relief. Best of all, Tamino isn't just a bland fairy-tale prince, but a believable boy on the verge of manhood: friendly, passionate and brave yet vulnerable. Meanwhile, the singing is good all around (though the only really outstanding voice belongs to Laszlo Polgar as Sarastro) and Arnold Östman does a fine job of conducting Drottningholm's period-instrument orchestra. I recommend this DVD to any Mozart lover."