An interesting go a minimalist staging
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 07/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 1992 production of , now available on ArtHaus DVD, performed by cast, chorus and orchestra of the Ludwigsburger Festspiele under Wolfgang Gonnenwein, is a good example of the current European minimalism that has taken over too many productions in opera houses. The entire work is performed on a white slab with occasionally colorful drapes along the back and some two-dimensional cutouts (the serpent, a branch to receive Papageno's rope) to relieve the visual monotony. The Three Women are dressed spectacularly and sexily in red body stockings with half blue gowns, and when the Queen of the Night (Andrea Frei) first appears in a hemispherical gown she seems to emerge from the backdrop of stars. Tamino (Deon van der Walt), for once, is dressed in a vaguely Japanese fashion as the text demands; but Papageno (Thomas Mohr) looks like a cross between a carpenter and Big Bird. And those ubiquitous Three Boys simply look silly and ill at ease in their white shorts, beach hats, and wings. Monostros (Kevin Conners) and his minions, in Little Black Sambo outfits, would never be allowed on a more Politically Correct stage; while the chorus are uniformly bald and dressed in a sort of Indian mode, Sorastro (Cornelius Hauptmann) looking particularly unimposing. Paminia (Ulrike Sonntag) does not look a young girl and is made to wear an unbecoming gown throughout. None of the singing is especially top notch, and the audience seems not to know when to applaud, being merely polite for the most part when they do. The two ordeals by Fire and Water are very poorly handled (as they usually are) , the animals responding to the flute very well done, and in general the scenes with the Three Women seem to come off the best. Perhaps the more traditional version from the Metropolitan would be a better introduction to this work; but this one certainly does have its moments. It also has German subtitles for those who want to see exactly what is being sung, as well as English, French and Chinese...."
Not what I expected
Dora M. West | 02/11/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Unimpressive as to the quality of this musical presentation, and it is not staged as I would have expected. I wanted to learn more about this opera, having neglected to add it to my collection. From this version, I did not get a picture of what Mozart must have had intended. Maybe I should have read the description better. Having searched for a desirable version, I passed over the Met's presentation. More expensive is not necessarily better. Note that Amazon recommends ordering these two together. What I experienced tells me why they recommend buying two versions of the same opera. I missed getting a discounted price. Do order both, if you order this one."