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on 8 February 2012
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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on 20 July 2011
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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on 16 October 2012
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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on 1 June 2012
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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on 16 October 2012
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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on 15 May 2015
A bit of a disappointment, after the hype of the many reviews awarding multiple
stars. Picture quality seemed muddy, I know it was shot in authentic lighting, but it just looked murky much if the time. The sound quality too left a lot to be desired. I loved the production -
witty and clever, and the Swedish text didn't get in the way. The English subtitles were occasionally unsatisfying remote from Schikaneder's original, and for no good reason I could see (Papageno and Pamina's Act 1 duet 'Mann under Weib' is a good example of this. The principal singers are uniformly excellent. I would recommend the disc for its interest and the production, but not as the 'must have' Magic Flute in a collection.
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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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on 23 July 2014
5 stars for what I've been able to see so far. I say "so far" due to the fact that the two discs that I've received to date have been faulty (the screen freezes every two or three minutes and then stops entirely). I suspect that the seller's batch from Korea may all have the same fault; at any rate I have Amazon contacting the seller about this.

There's nothing I wish to add to the constructive customer reviews that have been submitted other than to agree about the egregious subtitles and to comment on Bergman's dwelling on his daughter's sweet little face. Admittedly this is sheer indulgence on his part but those of us who have had children must surely feel a degree of understanding of his doing this - especially as he was moving towards the end of his directorial career. The chronology dictates that she must be Linn Ullman - his ninth child, her mother being Liv Ullman.
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on 1 April 2015
Although it is an older version it still mesmerizes me every single time. The performance is wonderful and the added value of the way Ingmar Bergman filmed both the performance and the audience is just amazing. Happy to have this Opera now on the newer technology of DVD.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 October 2012
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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