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Mozart - Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) / Les Arts Florissants, Christie Live

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  • Performer: Natalie Dessay, Rosa Mannion, Hans Peter Blochwitz, Anton Schalinger, Reinhard Hagen, et al.
  • Orchestra: Les Arts Florissants
  • Conductor: William Christie
  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Audio CD (4 Nov. 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Erato
  • ASIN: B000005E3W
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,563 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Ouverture - William Christie
  2. Scene 1: Introduction 'Zu Hilfe, zu Hilfe' - William Christie
  3. Scene 2 No. 2 Aria: 'Der Vogelfanger bin ich ja' - William Christie
  4. 'He da! - Was da?' - William Christie
  5. Scene 4 No. 3 Aria: 'Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schon' - William Christie
  6. Scene 6 No. 4 Recit. and Aria: 'O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn' - William Christie
  7. No. 5 Quintet: 'Hm! Hm! Hm!' - Scene 8 - William Christie
  8. Scenes 10-12 'He, Sklaven!' - No. 6 Trio: Du feines Taubchen nur herein' - William Christie
  9. Scenes 13&14 'Mutter! Mutter! -Wie?- Noch schlagt dies Herz?' - William Christie
  10. No. 7 Duet:'Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen' - William Christie
  11. Scene 15 No. 8 Finale: 'Zum Ziele fuhrt dich diese Bahn' - William Christie
  12. Recit. :Die Weisheitslehre dieser Knaben' - William Christie
  13. Andante: 'Wie stark ist nicht dein Zauberton' - William Christie
  14. Scene 16 'Schnelle Fusse, starker Mut' - Scene 17 - William Christie
  15. Allegro maestoso 'Es lebe Sarastro!' - William Christie
  16. Scene 18 -Larghetto'Herr, ich bin zwar Verbrecherin' - William Christie
  17. Scene 19 'Na, stolzer Jungling; nur heiher!' - William Christie
  18. Scene 1 No. 9 March of the Priests - William Christie
  19. 'Eingeweihtte Diener der grossen Gotter Osiris und Isis!' - William Christie
  20. No. 10 Aria and Chorus ' O Isis und Osiris' - William Christie

Disc: 2

  1. Scene 2 'Eine schreckliche Nacht!' - Scene 3 - W.A. Mozart
  2. No. 11 Duet: 'Bewahret Euch vor Weibertrucken' - Scene 4 - W.A. Mozart
  3. Scene 5 No. 12 Quintet: 'Wie? Wie? Wie?' - Scene 6 - W.A. Mozart
  4. No. 13 Aria: 'Alles fuhlt der Liebe Freuden' - W.A. Mozart
  5. Scene 8 'Zurucke! - Ihr Gotter!' - W.A. Mozart
  6. No. 14 Aria : 'Der Holle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen' - W.A. Mozart
  7. Scenes 9 to 12 'Morden soll ich?' - W.A. Mozart
  8. No. 15 Aria: 'In diesen heil'gen Hallen' - W.A. Mozart
  9. Scenes 13 to 15: 'Hier seid ihr euch beide allein uberlassen' - W.A. Mozart
  10. Scene 16 No. 16 Trio: 'Seid uns zum zweiten Mal willkommen - W.A. Mozart
  11. Scene 17 &18 'Tamino, wollen wir nicht speisen?' - W.A. Mozart
  12. No. 17 Aria : 'Ach, ich fuhl's, es ist verschwunden!' - Scene 19 - W.A. Mozart
  13. Scene 20 No. 18 Chorus of the Priests' O Isis und Osiris' - Scene 21 - W.A. Mozart
  14. No. 19 Trio : 'Soll ich dich Teure nicht mehr sehn?' - Scene 22 - Scene 23 - W.A. Mozart
  15. No. 20 Aria 'Ein Madchen oder Weibchen wunscht Papageno sich!' - W.A. Mozart
  16. Scene 24 'Da bin ich schon, mein Engel!' - Scene 25 - W.A. Mozart
  17. Scene 26 Finale 'Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkunden' - Scene 27 - W.A. Mozart
  18. Scene 28 ' Der, welcher wandert diese Srasse voll Beschwerden' - W.A. Mozart
  19. 'Tamino halt! ich muss dich sehn!' - W.A. Mozart
  20. Wir wandelten durch Feuersgluten' - W.A. Mozart
  21. Scene 29 'Papagena! Papagena!' - W.A. Mozart
  22. 'Pa - Pa - Pa-' - W.A. Mozart
  23. Scene 30 'Nur stille! stille!' - W.A. Mozart
  24. 'Die Strahlen der Sonne vertreiben die Nacht' - W.A. Mozart

Product Description

Product Description

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Originating by way of an Aix-En-Provence Festival staging, William Christie and his Arts Florissants bring dramatic flair and musical panache to Mozart's great late Singspiel in equal measure. To begin with, there's a dream cast led by the alluring pairing of Hans Peter Blochwitz as Tamino and Rosa Mannion as Pamina. Anton Scharinger makes for an earthy Papageno, Reinhard Hagen is a commanding Sarastro, whilst Natalie Dessay's input as Queen of the Night comes over in both her showpiece arias as steadfast and electrifying. The casting in depth continues: rare is a Magic Flute that can boast singers of the calibre of Willard White and Linda Kitchen in the relatively small roles of Speaker and Papagena. Then, the uniformly warm vocal blend is homogeneously matched, note for note, with the gut strings and less aggressive winds of Les Arts Florissants. Not that there's anything limp or lacklustre about Christie's brisk tempi; whilst sharp editing maintains the theatrical urgency. The melliflously played "magic" flute and exact keyed glockenspiel input for Papageno's bells are further examples of the care which has gone into this state of the art "authentic" interpretation. With a work like The Magic Flute, recorded choices are voluminous. Neville Marriner with his Academy of St Martins-in-the-Fields on Phillips puts in a brave showing, but William Christie maybe wins out in a thorough interpretation which simultaneously celebrates the opera's joy and mystery. --Duncan Hadfield

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This period instrument Flute is a triumph. William Christie eschews the usual headlong period instrument style for a gentle, almost whistful performance. Some of his speeds are actually quite slow but heaviness is avoided as it is conducted with lightness. The playing is good and so is the recording, with a strong all-round cast. This is probably the period instrument version to have.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is indeed a wonderful recording. But one of the problems with opera on CD is that voices appear and disappear without much explanation. It is no good looking for enlightenment to the booklet supplied with this recording, which is merely a record of the words sung - characters on the page still appear inexplicably and vanish without trace, and there is no suggestion of where anything is happening. It must have been splendid to be present at the actual performance, but if you do not know this opera well you will need some other source of information if you want to follow the involved story-line. But perhaps you will be content to listen to the glorious sound.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dear Tony... 28 Oct. 2003
By Samuel Krum - Published on
Format: Audio CD
You are right, Natalie Dessay sings the Queen of the Nights aria a semi-tone lower. In fact, the whole opera is a tone lower. It is recorded on Authentic instruments, which were tuned a semi tone lower in mozarts day than they are now. Therefore almost all pieces recorded on baroque instruments are a semi-tone lower.
I think the recording is masterful. Semi tone lower or not...
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystal clear recording and my favorite opera disc 23 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This performance is very involving; the period instruments have an unusually warm sound, but retain their clarity. The sopranos do not shriek excessively, as is the case with many larger-scale performances. I never liked opera until I heard performances like this; the singing is sweet, pure, enthusiastic. The sound quality is excellent; warm, detailed, somewhat dry--but it suits this performance perfectly.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Die Zauberflöte ever recorded 3 Jan. 2006
By J. Luis Juarez Echenique - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful recording. William Christie brings to Mozart all the finesse and class he brought to the French repertoire. The musicians of Les Arts Florissants make the most marvelous sounds, this is orchestral playing of the highest order. All the singers are excellent, but it is the Tamino of Hans Peter Blochwitz that stands out, he is quite simply exquisite: his lyrical, liquid, gorgeous voice is a wonder. Rosa Mannion as Pamina is good, but nowhere in the class of Blochwitz. Anton Scharinger repeats his dutiful Papageno (he and Blochwitz recorded the same roles for Harnoncourt on TELDEC) and he is good, but more charm would had been welcome. Dessay as the Queen of the Night is accurate and needless to say, spectacular, but a more dangerous presence would have add drama to the recording. Still, this is a quite magical Flute, and I will come back to it often, and now must be considered one of the better ones on record.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Flute 9 Sept. 2007
By Discophage - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This recording, made in studio in 1995, stems from a production premiered in 1994 at the Aix-en-Provence festival, staged by the Canadian Robert Carsen. It was Christie's first recording of a Mozart opera (two years later did Entführung, and seems to have stopped there. See my review of Mozart - Die Entführung aus dem Serail / Schäfer, Petibon, Bostridge, Paton, Ewing, Löw, Les Arts Florissants, Christie) and one of his first forays out of late 16th-early 17th century repertoire (French baroque and Haendel). He shows a great affinity for Mozart, and is nowhere radically "baroque" (e.g. favoring hard-driven tempos) in his approach. Yes, his conducting has energy, drive and snap: just listen to the intro to "Zu hilfe!", for instance - it's not just music, it's theatre: you can feel the danger. But Christie can also be genial and laid-back, as in the first Papageno aria - Solti in 1991 is far more radical here, with the good ol' Vienna Philharmonic (Die Zauberflote / The Magic Flute). Christie even allows himself now and then some expressive and very romantic rubatos. But he is also refreshingly precise - the 16th notes of the second chord in the overture do not sound as 8th or quarter-notes as so many others (for the sake, one surmises, of "solemnity") - and one senses that he makes a point in following the score, not the "interpretive tradition". The "baroque" practice can be heard in the use of appoggiaturas in some arias (Queen of the Night) as well as in the long cadenza at the end of the first Dame trio (disc 1, track 2, 5:30). And of course, everything is played half a tone under modern pitch - a blessing for the Queen of the Night and a nightmare for Sarastro, I suppose - the revenge of Womankind, perhaps? The timbral difference of period instruments is essentially perceptible in woodwinds and brass, not really in string tone. Period instrument fans such as myself find that they bring a refreshingly vivid orchestral color.

Christie has a good to exceptional cast of singers. There used to be a tradition of casting Tamino to heavier tenors, of near heldentenor type. Blochwitz is the pure Mozartean, lighter typed tenor, and so much for the better: the voice has a quality of silk and sweetness - although, for all its sweetness, it does show traces of unsteadiness in "Dies Bildniss..." (disc 1 track 5). Rosa Mannion I find is an exceptional Pamina, with angelic purity of voice and sweetness in the piano nuance above the stave (Alan Blyth, in his Gramophone's survey of January 2006 also singled out Mannion, on a par with Lisa Della Casa, as his ideal Pamina). To my ears, the reedy tone of "period" woodwinds adds a lot to the plangent character of "Ach ich fühl's". Scharinger has the vocal body and characterization of the great Papagenos. His duets with Mannion are great, the voices blend marvellously together.

Willard White is a fine Speaker, low-voiced and solemn - perhaps a bit too solemn. I find Steven Cole's Monostatos a bit too soft-grained to fully convey the nastiness and menace of the character. Reinhard Hagen as Sarastro has all the required low notes - and possibly not the most interesting characterization, but then Sarastro is a role difficult to nuance out of a generalized solemn kindness. The two priests and two armored men call for no criticism.

I find Christie's 3 kids exceptional in that, on the opposite pole from the solemn, mature, un-childish Tölzer Knabenchor or Wiener Sängerknaben type, they really sound like KIDS - in addition to which they are also pitch-right, a feature rarely encountered with the Austrian adolescents.

The spoken text is appropriately trimmed, that is still fairly complete but reduced just enough to avoid boredom. It is delivered I find without that much dramatic tension (Papageno sounds hardly startled when Tamino first calls him, "He da!") but lots of humor, and Scharinger-Papageno has an irresistible Viennese accent (and the way he rushes his explanatory prattling with Pamina in Act I scene 14, track 9, is a nice theatrical idea, too). In general it is the singers who also speak the text, except for the first and third lady, Speaker, two Priests and two armored men, replaced by German actors- presumably for ensuring a perfect accent. Dessay spent a season in the troupe of the Vienna Opera, so one can expect her German accent to be just fine. The Liverpool-born Rosa Mannion is credited as the speaker of her own role - and I have some doubts about that claim. It is clearly she who speaks the dialogue with Tamino and Papageno before "Ach Ich fühl's" (some peculiarities of accent and diction can be distinctly recognized) but I am not so sure in the long Act I dialog with Papageno and Act II dialog with the Queen of the Night, as, although the timbre is quite similar, I don't hear those peculiarities and find the German accent here well-nigh perfect. Anyway this is a petty detail "for the record" which causes no disturbance whatsoever.

All in all, I wouldn't say this is the "best" Flute (among those I know Solti's 1991 recording is also quite exceptional, and anyway there is not such thing as "the best" in music interpretation) but it is certainly one of those.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A winning, theatrical Zauberflote in period style 3 July 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD
It's odd that this older period-style Magic Flute sounds so close to Claudio Abbado's new version released just last month. A decade ago, in 1996, William Christie was at the leading edge of authenticity, yet now we have a mainstream conductor adopting the same gesutres: strings playing without vibrato, reduced orchestra, and 'unforced singing,' as Christie calls it. The good news for him is that his recording easily keeps up with the new one in almost every way.

Despite the period flavor, tempos are not rushed--Christie is actually slower than usual in the Queen of the Night's music. He does that to give the excellent Natalie Dessay room for more expression. In general Christie is aiming at a natural theatricality that is neither pompous nor archly fairy tale--just as Abbado does, too. The Tamino of Hans Peter Blochwitz is vocally more beautiful than any on disc since Fritz Wunderlich, though Blochwitz is more lyrical than ardent. His Pamina is unknown to me, the modest, sweet-voiced Rosa Mannion. I'm also unaware of the Papageno, Anton Scharinger, who is genial and lively but with no attempt at humor--Christie clearly didn't want a Papageno who clowns around.

It's in several leading roles that Abbado goes ahead of Christie, because Mannion and Scharinger are unimaginative and sometimes only pleasant. Even Dessay, gifted with such a brilliant technique, doesn't sound threatening or particularly angry as the villainess of the piece. Rene Pape is such a commanding Sarastro for Abbado that Reinhard Hagen, doing a serviceable job, sounds disappointing when he tunrs out to have weak, gravelly low notes.

I've owned period Die Zaubeflotes from Norrington and Gardiner as well, and Christie's is the best of the lot, a vital, engaging, natural account.
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