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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, 20 July 2011
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This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
If you are thinking of buying 'The Flute' there's probably no need to say anything about the opera itself. I bought Bergman's recording because many years ago it was transmitted on TV and I was completely captivated by it. No subsequent version that I have seen live or recorded comes close to the experience of watching Bergman's account. It is a film version of a stage performance. But not all that we see is confined to the stage. For instance, Pappageno's entry in Act 1 starts in the dressing room; he hears the opening bars of the intro, grabs his pipes and finishes the line, then hurriedly slings on his basket, clatters downstairs over stage hands and enters the stage right on cue to finish the next line. The trick tells us a good deal about his character. Bergman, as might be expected uses film in other creative ways. The jewel in the necklace in which there is a portrait of Pamina and the sight of which enraptures Tamino is shown in close up and then becomes animated to reveal Pamina in her captivity. This clarifies the plot immediately. The 'three ladies' are beautiful and flirtatious young women and their sharp choreography in close up to camera enhances the effect of their competition to gaze on the unconscious Tamino. I'm not experienced enough to comment on the quality of the singing or quality of the performers' characterisation. Both appeared to me to be completely satisfying. The opera is sung in Swedish which, if you are more familiar with the German, fits the music very well indeed. However, the english subtitles are sometimes hilariously and carelessly translated: a word such as 'an' might, in the same sentence be shown as 'on' and 'in'. There are no enclosed cover notes. The sleeve is covered in Chinese or Korean characters. From twenty five years ago I most remembered the palette of colours Bergman and his designers used: a sort of glowing tawny khaki. It sound awful but in fact the effect is warm and affectionate - as are the children (playing angels/nymphs) in the balloon and the animals who are large furry and floppy eared. The definition of the print is very soft. I do not know if this is intentional or because of its age or technical effects but it curiously fits in well with the general mood of the piece. The overall effect is magical and accessible. It's truly 'enlightening' version of the great opera of Enlightenment. It's a remarkable disc and very very enjoyable.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming interpretation, 8 Feb 2012
By 
R. Baston (Newcastle UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
I was doing a talk on various interpretations of Mozart's Magic Flute and remembered seeing Bergman's version a long time ago, and it remained in the memory, why? Well Bergman clearly loved the work and it shows, of course Bergman was also a film maker and that shows as well!
Set in a period theatre the ambience resembles what original audiences might have experienced and this apparently naive look, may, at first, appear simple but with Bergman's skills it is by no means unsophisticated and allows the magic of the Magic Flute to display itself, rather than the "look at MY directorial cleverness" too often apparent, Bergman allows Mozart and Shikanaders work to speak for itself.
Bergman's only real indulgence is to, occasionally, show that he is filming a performance and a setting of a performance, in a contemporary theatre.
Bergman does suggest that Sarastro and the Queen of the Night are actually husband and wife, but this interpretation is not entirely unknown.
Technical quality wise the overall sharpness is a little 'soft' probably due to the age of the original and really the only reason it was not a 5 star. It is also in Swedish rather than the original German but the 'fit' of the words, to my ears, was fine.
To sum up if you want a version that is probably the truest to the original in setting, made with charm and an intense love for the work and its themes, this is the one. It may even make some other versions seem excruciatingly over indulgent by directors seeking to make a name for themselves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable even if not strictly as Mozart intended, 16 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
Firstly note this is a KOREAN version with subtitles available in ENGLISH or KOREAN. This Bergman film is a real treat which should be enjoyed by all except those who believe it should have been performed strictly as intended by Mozart. Recitative has been abbreviated and modified by Bergman, it is sung in Swedish and some scenes are interchanged. Sometimes the English subtitles are a bit strange due to translation but are easily understood. Although the performers are not as strong as in other productions, the overall effect is superb and provides an excellent introduction to this opera. I purchased my copy from F1rst Class DVD and they were exceptionally quick and helpful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic Flute Bergman - Brilliant for all, 16 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold...

Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant....for adults
Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant......for children. Our daughter started to adore it from the age of 3 ...maybe younger..;she even learnt some Swedish from it. Wonderful music, wonderful film
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic performance in an old theatre, 1 Jun 2012
By 
R. Taylor (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
Saw this originally on film, it has been so hard to get hold of. Thank you Amazon for getting this. Be warned that this is in Swedish, but opera buffs will find that the setting (the restored 17th Century theatre* of Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm, Sweden) compensates.

Bergman's use of 'behind the scenes' shots give us an insight into the performers' private moments, but the long studies of a young girl's facial reactions to the music seem dated these days.

Musically, some changes from Mozart's original are apparent to those who know the score. This is a shame as the setting is probably as authentic as we can get to how people first saw the Flute.

Never mind the Swedish, this is definitely a classic must-buy for the true opera fan. It should be on your shelf alongside that other great film interpretation of a great opera, Franco Zeffirelli's version of Verdi's La Traviata.

On a touristic note, Drottningholm Palace, and its little theatre are well worth a visit if you go to Stockholm.

*Strictly speaking the theatre interiors were reconstructed in a film studio for the purpose of recording.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting version Sung in Swedish, 14 Oct 2012
By 
Marcolorenzo (Italy) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
A beautiful enchanting version on a small theatrical scale. Will have you become a fan of this Mozart's last opera if you aren't already. But beware it's sung in SWEDISH and not the original German. So be careful and check which languages are subtitled.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another side of Bergman. Imperfect, but fun., 10 May 2012
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
I found Bergman's film of Mozart's opera neither the unalloyed masterpiece of some critics,
nor the failure of others. To me it represented a perfectly enjoyable attempt to bring opera
to the masses (remember this was made for TV), while not quite being a masterwork.

There are a lot of moments of just plain fun; in the story, the singing, the costumes, the images.
But there are failed ideas as well.

Operating on a small budget, Bergman tries to walk a fine line of keeping the opera set in a theater,
while 'opening it up' with camera angles, and sets that would never work in a real theater. Not
a bad concept, but the constant cuts to audience reactions (especially those of his own daughter)
becomes increasingly distracting, and there are times where some of the theatrical artifice, seen
up close, just seems clunky, not magical.

As a result, you never can 'believe in' the story, but you also don't get the grandeur and magic of
a great stage production. You DO get an intimacy with the characters and their feelings, which is great
where those are interesting, not so good in those moments where the story itself (as opposed to
Mozart's sublime music) is a bit silly, contradictory and shallow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute masterpiece of music and opera direction., 14 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
A magic fairy tale rich in symbolism and poetry, an opera which is an absolute masterpiece and a direction which combines poetical and funny moments. A must-see!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Charming production, pity about the subtitles, 2 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
The DVD arrived promptly and in good condition. The production is a classic, but picture and sound quality are average, and the English subtitles are barely literate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bergman's Magic Flute, 21 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Ingmar Bergman's 'THE MAGIC FLUTE' (1975 - a.k.a.Trollflöjten) All Region DVD (Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible) starring Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Ulrik Cold... (DVD)
Because the production is so wonderful, it's worth ignoring the quality of the recording, which is obviously less than a modern dvd.
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