Notes and Editorial Reviews
“Among period performances William Christie’s stands out,” wrote Gramophone of this recording of Die Zauberflöte, an interpretation that falls “sweetly and lovingly on the ear”. Hans-Peter Blochwitz is “probably the finest Tamino around”, Rosa Mannion a Pamina of “much charm [who] blossoms into maturity and indeed passion” and Natalie Dessay a “magnificent Queen of the Night … with ample weight and tonal glitter.” Anton Scharinger makes a stylish, witty Papageno and Reinhard Hagen a Sarastro of both warmth and authority.
William Christie’s interpretation is certainly an interesting one and the fact that Les Arts Florissants play on period instruments naturally adds authenticity
to the music, as it will be closer to what Mozart would have heard himself. The sound is generally softer and more gentle than in other performances that I have heard with a modern orchestra, which is due in large part to the period instruments. Christie is true to Mozart’s score and yet he sometimes takes a slightly different direction. He leads the orchestra in a subtle and sensitive manner, making the score feel sweeter than in most performances that I have heard.
Blochwitz, here in his vocal prime, has a bright, light voice with a sensuous tone. His interpretation of Tamino is very pleasing with a tender and beautiful rendition of the famous aria Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön. Pamina is here sung by British soprano Rosa Mannion who gives us a rather charming interpretation. She sounds suitably vivacious and youthful, with a clear tone which she intelligently changes to a more passionate interpretation later with her aria Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden. Papageno is convincingly and extremely well sung by baritone Anton Scharinger, as is the lovely Papagena performed by soprano Linda Kitchen. The three ladies make a vibrant and glittering trio and the three boys sound suitably clear and innocent. Monostatos is also very effectively sung by American character tenor Steven Cole and we have the luxury of Willard White as the Speaker who is excellent.
Leaving the best for last, I must now mention German bass Reinhard Hagen as Sarastro and French coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay as the Queen of the Night. They positively steal the show! Hagen’s voice is sonorous and majestic yet it exudes a warm authority, which is well suited to the character and makes it sympathetic right from the start. He sings with extraordinary quality and subtle variation. The Queen of the Night is a role that suits Dessay’s sparkling tone and splendid flexibility.
– MusicWeb International Read less
Works on This Recording
Die Zauberflöte, K 620 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Reinhard Hagen (Bass),
Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor),
Linda Kitchen (Soprano),
Rosa Mannion (Soprano),
Natalie Dessay (Soprano),
Anton Scharinger (Bass)
Les Arts Florissants
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria
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