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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best
This is the best Magic Flute I've ever seen, the production is wonderful throughout. I like my Queen of the Night and her Three Ladies to have balls and they don't disappoint, all four are fantastically sung but especially the Queen. I like Opera on DVD to be well staged and well acted, as I do in the theatre, only on CD do I find the need for perfection of the voice...
Published on 16 Nov 2004 by Not Dr Brodsky

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68 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
Having read the previous review, I ordered this version of Mozart's final opera and awaited its delivery with eager anticipation. It was therefore a bit of a shock to find that I was more than a little disappointed when I sat down to watch it. Do not expect a traditional performance of this opera.
Papageno is no longer the feathered friend of old, nor is Papagena his...
Published on 8 Aug 2004


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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best, 16 Nov 2004
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
This is the best Magic Flute I've ever seen, the production is wonderful throughout. I like my Queen of the Night and her Three Ladies to have balls and they don't disappoint, all four are fantastically sung but especially the Queen. I like Opera on DVD to be well staged and well acted, as I do in the theatre, only on CD do I find the need for perfection of the voice. I've seen far more enjoyable performances by supposedly second rate companies then I've seen sometimes when I've paid the earth. Tamino is in this respect, as usual, a tad inert but that seems to go with the role, maybe it meant more in Mozart's time. Papagano is on the other hand outstanding in every way, by far the funniest performance of this role I've ever seen and also by far the most assured. For the Queen, her ladies and Papageno this is a must. Very rearly are performances perfect but this one is near enough.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Production, 3 Oct 2004
By 
Mr. J. Dix "jaybags" (Woking, Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
This is a captivating production, but clearly not one for the traditionalists. Opera does move with the times and I thought the characterisation on every level was accessible, moving, fun and dramatic. The sets were stunning, the performances fully in tune with the spirit of the production, and the pace terrific. I almost cried when Pamino was rescued from suicide by the three boys, and this scene for me encapsulated the crossover between traditional and more contemporary production values. It resonated with symbols and images that are accessible to the modern audience without losing anything of Mozart's original intent. It even managed to offer some escape from the inherent sexism of this opera (which you have to accept as being a feature of the time and place Mozart was in when he wrote it). I absolutely loved the tarty papagena and the working class anti hero form of papageno, and the scene with the children pillow fighting on their bed made me laugh out loud. Well done all concerned with this production, it kept me entranced the whole night long. Excellent video and editing too by the way - not always done well in DVDs of live opera.
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144 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Effective 'Flute'--Highest Recommendation, 1 Oct 2003
By 
J Scott Morrison (Middlebury VT, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
Many of us hold up as the standard filmed version of 'The Magic Flute' the one that Ingmar Bergman did at Drottningholm perhaps twenty years ago. Obviously the film opened up the stage and made the opera more cinematic than a staged version could be.
This DVD is of a production taped digitally in January 2003 at Covent Garden, a new production staged by David McVicar, designed by John Macfarlane and conducted by that eminent Mozartian, Sir Colin Davis. And, of course, it is simply of a stage production; there is no breaking down the walls of the stage. However, the direction for video is both masterful and unobtrusive. And then there's the production itself.
The leading singers are all quite wonderful. The only slightly less than top-drawer singer, in my opinion, is Franz-Josef Selig as Sarastro; he has the cavernous bass required for the part but there is an incipient wobble that distracts. In the 'wonderful' category are some singers previously unknown to me. Tamino is sung by a young German tenor, Will Hartmann, whose voice reminds me of that star German tenor of yesteryear, Rudolf Schock; it is not innately beautiful but it is solid, masculine and has a ringing top. His acting is basic but more than adequate; Tamino is not a role that calls for great acting. The Queen of the Night, Diana Damrau, is not one of those coloratura canaries so often assigned to the role; she is a dramatic coloratura and not only does she sing the role well, her acting is believable. Her makeup and costume make her look, appropriately, like a cross between Morticia Addams and Cruella de Vil. A scary lady. Pamina is sung, and acted believably, by German soprano Dorothea Röschmann. Her 'Ach, ich fuhl's' is moving and utterly gorgeous. She has floated high notes that cause gooseflesh.
The lesser roles are also taken well. Papagena is humorous, physical and well-sung by Ailish Tynan. Monastatos is properly repellantly lecherous and sung with impeccable diction by Adrian Thompson. It was particularly heart-warming to see well-loved veteran basso, Richard Van Allen, as the First Priest; the voice is still there and his acting, as always, is spot on. Thomas Allen's Speaker is a bit less effective but still quite good. The three Ladies, the three Boys and the two Armed Men are all effective sung and acted.
My highest praise, though, goes to Simon Keenlyside who is quite simply the best Papageno I've ever seen. His is an extremely athletic performance; he takes some tumbles and makes some leaps that have you gasping in surprise. At one point he slides across the stage--trying to catch a bird at the end of his entrance aria--as well as any short-stop you've ever seen. His comic acting--aided by lots of close-ups--has you laughing out loud, and yet he portrays the longing for 'eine Weibchen' in a way that puts a lump in your throat. His sturdy baritone is one of the best around these days. A real triumph for him. The audience gave him, deservedly, the loudest and longest applause during the curtain calls.
Overall, this is the best staged production of 'Zauberflöte' I've ever seen. I was riveted and didn't even take a break between the two acts I was so drawn into it. Extras on the DVD inlude brief interviews with McVicar and Macfarlane, and a long interview--quite informative and utterly charming--with Sir Colin. There is also a spoken synopsis that is quite well done, and I'd suggest you view it before you view the opera if you're not very familiar with the plot.
I give this DVD my very highest recommendation.
Scott Morrison
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64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Teenager's Review On A Mozart Opera, 5 Jan 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
I have seen loads of mozarts operas and this is my favourite,
and here is the reason why:
1, Colin Davis Conducts this opera very very well, he really brings out the best in mozart's music.
2, Tamino (Will Hartmann) Has an amaing voice and he seems suited to the role of Tamino, he can sing and he can act, which is very important in opera.
3,Pamina (Dorothea Roschmann), has a lovely soothing voice and is also well suited to the role. Her 'Ach, ich Fulh's' is really moving and relaxing. She is also very good actress.
4, The Queen Of The Night, (Diana Damrau), is the best Queen of the night I've ever heard. Not Only does she sing her role well, but she is also very dramatic and powerful.She also seems suited to the role.
5, Sarastro (Franz-Josef Selig), he has a gorgeous voice and is also very moving.He really seems to enjoy the role, and is well suited to it.
6, Papageno (Simon Keenlyside) is the best Papageno ever.
He has a great voice, which is very moving at times. And is I think the star of the whole opera.
He's My favourite Baritone so- far and is well suited to the role. He is a really energetic performer.
7, Monastatos is a real creep and is performed very well by Adrian Thompson. He has a nice voice and is a good actor. He also seems suited to the role.
8, The Speaker Of The Temple, is performed really well by Thomas Allen. As is Richard Van Allen and Matthew Beale's performances as the Two Priest
9, The three ladies were performed extreamly well by Gillian Webster, Christine Rice and Yvonne Howard.
The Three boys and the two armed men where also well performed and well acted.
This Is The Best Production Of Die Zauberflote, I Have Ever Seen.
I Highly Recommend this DVD for all Mozart and Opera Fans.
A.Adele Aged 14...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 1 July 2008
By 
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
If you are in process of deciding which DVD of Die Zauberflöte to buy, then I must implore you to choose this!

I disagree somewhat with the previous reviewer who found fault with Diana Damrau's stage presence, as I believe her and the director's interpretation of the character brought a much needed angle to the production. Yes, the stereotypical Queen of the Night is the dominating powerhouse who would strike fear into the entire audience, but I still believe that Damrau accomplishes this whilst still maintaining a sense of dimension and though perhaps not to everyone's taste, a hint of mortality.

The direction is world class, the choreography fantastic (especially with the puppetry), the set and costume breath-taking and the humour both well-timed and well executed.

Highlights for me would of course be the incredibly secure Tamino and Pamina, the outstanding Papageno and Adrian Thompson's Monastatos, performed superbly.

One lowlight for myself as a basso, Franz-Josef Selig wimped out of the "bottom" C (Finale, Act 1), I know that in most scores it's an ossia, so I'll probably forgive him one day!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A master production, 18 Jan 2011
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
This is by far the best production I've seen to Die Zauberflote. I saw the same opera in the Bavarian State Opera and in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina conference hall and neither can stand up to the singing techniques and the passion with which this production was made
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb production - a must for opera lovers, 22 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
The Magic Flute is a complex and brilliant composition with heaps having been written about the Freemasons implications. Anyone unfamiliar with all this would gain more appreciation of the opera by some reading beforehand. That said this production is a masterpiece with Diana Damrau sailing with ease through one of opera's most difficult arias in her Queen of the Night role. The comical roles of Papageno and Papagena sung by Simon Keenlyside and Ailish Tynan are beutifully done and add relief to the more serious side of this opera.
The cast is well balanced, superbly recorded and this is an BluRay production not to be missed by opera lovers.
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68 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, 8 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
Having read the previous review, I ordered this version of Mozart's final opera and awaited its delivery with eager anticipation. It was therefore a bit of a shock to find that I was more than a little disappointed when I sat down to watch it. Do not expect a traditional performance of this opera.
Papageno is no longer the feathered friend of old, nor is Papagena his perfect mate. He has mutated into a 1940/50's tramp/poacher and she has become a 1960's 'Dame Edna Everedge' lookalike. Monostatos has been transformed from Mozart's black Moor into an exaggerated camp lecher and the three boys are now Papageno's 1940/50's playmates traversing the skies in a celestial boxkart, while everyone else is still well and truly ensconced in the 18th century!
For me, the only character that I felt was believable was Dorothea Roschmann's Pamina and she was the only one that drew tears with her beautiful aria 'Ach ich fuhls'. I wondered whether the other singers were frightened of giving full force to their voices for fear of perhaps upsetting the recording equipment. The Queen of the Night especially seemed to be far too much in control of her temper in what was supposed to be her rage aria 'Der Holle Rache'.
All in all, I found this production to be an unnecessary messing about with Schikaneder's wonderful collaboration with Mozart and a distraction to the music, presumably in an effort to appeal to modern tastes. Unfortunately, not mine...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good modern production, 20 July 2011
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
Die Zauberflote is an opera that all ages should be able to enjoy and this production is enjoyable from beginning to end. Despite not indulging in Deus ex Machina type theatricals such as with the Queen's "O zittre nicht" entrance this is a dramatic and engaging performance from everyone in the cast and the pit.

Some opera need not be taken too seriously and this is one of them. Keenlyside's Papageno is animated and fun throughout and together with Roschmann's Pamina provide the two most sympathetic characters. Tamino's twittish uselessness is evident too, revealing the director (McVicar) understands the libretto as well as Sir Colin Davies understands the score.

I think one would have to go back to the 1970's and Edda Moser to find a more furious Konigen der nacht than Diana Damrau who acts up a storm to boot. Monostatos is no longer a Moor, for PC reasons no doubt, but well played by Thompson. Papagena (Tynan) is hilarious and the fact that in the excitement of the scene she can't keep up with Keenlyside in "Pa-Pa-Papagena" is just charming.

I can't think of anything negative to say (unusualy), even the sound quality is good, so I must reluctantly award 5 stars. A great introduction to Opera for noobs or a thoroughly enjoyable production for seasoned luvvies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Amazing voice of Diana Damrau, 23 July 2010
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This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) -- Royal Opera House/Davis [DVD] (DVD)
Mozart's Die Zauberflote (the Magic Flute) is at first sight based on a simple story but as you start to analyise it you start to realise it's inherant complexity, a view share by the Conductor Colin Davis in his introduction.

All the parts of the key characters are quite demanding both from an acting and singing point of view but none more so than that of the Queen of the Night. In this production that role is brilliantly performed by Diana Damrau, she make this role her own and can, in my humble opinion, rightly claim to be best in the world in it's execution. Her vocal execution is perfect in every respect and the total success of the opera hangs on her brilliance. To listening to her only is both exciting and, in particular, vocally simulating.
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