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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, superbly sung & serious
This is the classic recording of Zauberflote. Klemperer's is a very serious take on the work - and there are certainly other ways to see it - which benefits from an outstanding cast. Nearly all parts are taken by leading singers (only Frick's Sarastro may not satisfy all as his voice at this point in his career was a bit dry and he has trouble with the lowest notes) who...
Published on 2 May 2010 by enthusiast

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Klemperer's 'Die Zauberflöte'
I've noticed that this recording is very popular, but I think it's over rated. Gundula Janowitz and Lucia Popp are stunning and Walter Berry's a very fine Papageno. For me this recording has many disadvantages. I've heard much better singers for Sarastro and Tamino than Gottlob Frick and Nicolai Gedda. I don't approve of Klemperer's interpretation. It's very dark and...
Published on 6 Aug 2011 by Anonymous


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, superbly sung & serious, 2 May 2010
By 
enthusiast "enthusiast" (sussex, uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (Home of Opera) (Audio CD)
This is the classic recording of Zauberflote. Klemperer's is a very serious take on the work - and there are certainly other ways to see it - which benefits from an outstanding cast. Nearly all parts are taken by leading singers (only Frick's Sarastro may not satisfy all as his voice at this point in his career was a bit dry and he has trouble with the lowest notes) who not only sing marvelously but also inject character effortlessly.

I guess you would have to say that Klemperer's way with Mozart sounds old fashioned these days but no matter: this is a coherent, powerfully atmospheric - and powerfully dramatic - account that has held its own in the catalogues (always amongst the most recommended versions and still there when the last generation of newer versions has been forgotten) for some five decades. It has, perhaps, never been bettered although there are fine versions which show other (perhaps lighter, more fantasitical) sides of Zauberflote.

As a listening experience I believe it is helped by the decision to exclude the spoken dialogue (all you get is the music) but others (especially German speakers?) may be disturbed by this. The price (at under 15) is very attractive and the recording is very good for its age.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great but by no means perfect, 25 Oct 2010
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (Home of Opera) (Audio CD)
If you peruse the many reviews for this celebrated recording, you will deduce that by and large most people acknowledge this a great account but with certain caveats - hence my reduction of one star for what is still a seminal set. Opinions differ about most key aspects, but virtually everyone agrees that the young, pure, thrilling voice of Lucia Popp is near ideal as the Queen of the Night, even if Klemperer's steady beat restrains her from sounding as hectic and off-the-wall as the best modern interpreters, such as Diana Damrau. Most enjoy Gundula Janowitz's similarly ethereal-toned Pamina though others call her "cool"; I find her poise and pathos make her as ideal in her role as Popp is in hers. Berry's bluff, rich-voiced Papageno is clearly an asset, though once more, Klemperer's reverential approach eschews the emphasis on comedy and in word-pointing he must yield to Fischer-Dieskau for Böhm - one of this singer's most successful assumptions and, unlike his forays into Verdi or Wagner, entirely within his gifts. Klemperer has an extraordinarily starry array of supporting voices which include many who were, or became, leading singers in their own right. The sound is superb, even for 1964 and the playing and singing of the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus exemplary.

We get into more controversial territory with the remaining issues: first, Klemperer's direction. He clearly adores the piece and although he is by no means always exceptionally slow, he is weighty; the vertical far outweighs the horizontal hear and God's voice speaks through the clouds. That's how Gottlob Frick should sound, but in truth by this later stage of his career he labours and groans under Klemperer's measured beat, even if his authority and warmth are not in doubt. The other bugbear for me is Gedda's Tamino; he cannot hold a candle to Wunderlich for Böhm, often sounding throttled and bumpy. Others praise the beauty of his singing; it is true that, as so often with this singer, he is good in parts, but very unsteady at other times and his tone is essentially bleaty. He is especially unsatisfactory in that sublime passage just before Tamino plays his flute, "Wir wandeln durch des Tones Macht" - gritty and unsteady; just listen to the beauty of Wunderlich's line for a comparison. I do like Gedda in some things but we do not find him here in finest voice.

So Böhm wins for his male singers and sense of fun; Klemperer for the supremacy of his women artists and for the combination of majesty and affection he brings to the music. There is nothing monolithic, for instance about his handling of Papageno's magic bell music and "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen"; it is quite charming - but he is also able to invest the stern Bachian fugue of the armed men with a transcendent quality. Even in Mozart's most deceptively simple melodies, Klemperer touches sublimity. I love the warmth and directness of Böhm's set and could never part with Wunderlich as Tamino, nor am I as bothered as much as some by the inadequacies of Roberta Peters and Evelyn Lear for Böhm - so it's both sets for me. If you want a modern version with dialogue - missing here, but included in Böhm's recording - I suggest a super-bargain outsider: the 1991 version conducted by Mackerras on Brilliant with some first-rate singers in a lively performance.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recording, 15 Nov 2010
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (Home of Opera) (Audio CD)
This is a great recording. Although it was recorded 50 years ago, the sound is surprisingky good and the quality of the singing is fantastic. Lucia Popp is especially good. Highly recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars A magical recording, 30 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (Home of Opera) (Audio CD)
The quality of this recording is super - it has a richness of tone that is sometimes missing from later recordings. The cast all perform well on the whole, but as with other recordings there are one or two phrases that are not absolutely perfect - although my overall enjoyment is not lessened by these slight aberrations.
If you are looking for a modern, up to date interpretation then this is probably not the recordng for you but if you relish a thoughtful and moving performance then this recording is it.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Klemperer's 'Die Zauberflöte', 6 Aug 2011
This review is from: Mozart: Die Zauberflote (Home of Opera) (Audio CD)
I've noticed that this recording is very popular, but I think it's over rated. Gundula Janowitz and Lucia Popp are stunning and Walter Berry's a very fine Papageno. For me this recording has many disadvantages. I've heard much better singers for Sarastro and Tamino than Gottlob Frick and Nicolai Gedda. I don't approve of Klemperer's interpretation. It's very dark and menacing, which is acceptable, but what I don't like about the interpretation, is that I don't get emotions of the joy of love from it. This aspect of the opera is important for me. I'm also not happy that this recording has none of the dialogue.
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Mozart: Die Zauberflote (Home of Opera)
Mozart: Die Zauberflote (Home of Opera) by Otto Klemperer (Audio CD - 2009)
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