The Queen of the Night offers her daughter Pamina to Tamino, but he has to bring her back from her father and priest Sarastro. She gives a magic flute to Tamino and magic bells to the bird ...
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Max von Sydow,
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The Queen of the Night offers her daughter Pamina to Tamino, but he has to bring her back from her father and priest Sarastro. She gives a magic flute to Tamino and magic bells to the bird hunter Papageno, who follows Tamino and wants to find a wife. The duo travels in a journey of love and knowledge. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I first saw this movie when I was in my teens, and it was the first opera experience I truly loved. Since I now work in opera, that was ultimately a very important event in my life! Bergman manages to achieve the impossible--a perfect synthesis of drama and music, the visual and the aural. (Years ago someone told me he thought that opera--the art that combines drama with music--ended up by denigrating both forms, and I don't completely disagree with that.) But in this almost magical movie, all of the flaws inherent in the piece (and there are many--poor dramatic structure, confusing story line, nonsensical plot elements) are ironed out, or somehow don't matter. Visually, it's sumptuous, thanks to Sven Nykvist's usual gorgeous cinematography, and aurally it's quite pleasing, despite some pretty mediocre singing--but thanks to Bergman's genius, that doesn't matter, either. Because of his careful work with the singing actors, every intention and dramatic impulse is realized, all motivations are clear--something you never see on an opera stage. Of course, much of it is impossible on an opera stage.....Bergman can use close-ups where opera can't. And a little ways into the opera, one realizes that gradually, imperceptibly, the stage has "opened out", and we're on sets and in places that would never be possible in a theater. He makes it all work, seamlessly.
In a way, the beautiful 18th-century Drottningholm Court Theater is a secondary star--one can't imagine a more perfect place for this opera to be performed. But the real star (among the singer/actors, at least) is Håkan Hagegård. There is no more beautiful and charming (both physically and vocally) Papageno imaginable--he became an international opera star a few years later. He more than compensates for all the other weak vocal links in the cast.
You'll never see a better "Magic Flute" than this.
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