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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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
Of all of Mozart's operas, I cannot decide which is my favourite out of Don Giovanni, Marriage of Figaro(Le Nozze Di Figaro) and Magic Flute(Die Zauberflote), though I have a fondness for Cosi Fan Tutte too. I love the stories and characters of these operas, and the music in all of Mozart's operas(even those with stories not as strong such Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail) is magnificent.
I have seen several opera productions, and a number of opera films. My favourite opera films prior to seeing this Magic Flute were the 1976 Tosca, Losey's Don Giovanni, Zeffirelli's La Traviata, Rossi's Carmen, Ponelle's Le Nozze Di Figaro and Ponelle's Rigoletto. I saw this Magic Flute for two primary reasons, one that Magic Flute is one of my favourite operas, and the other being the great Ingmar Bergman.
The Magic Flute didn't disappoint. Bergman's direction was accomplished as always, the cinematography was gorgeous and the largely symbolic images looked amazing and enhanced the compelling story. The only ones that didn't quite work for me were the shots of the audience in the overture, which were a little distracting and unnecessary for me. The sets are suitably lavish and the costumes while different than one would expect are good.
As for the orchestral playing and conducting, they were superb, with the orchestra playing with power and clarity, and the conducting rock-solid with well-judged tempos. The acting and singing are very good generally, the best being Hakan Hagegard's hilarious Papagaeno and Birgit Nordin's imperiously chilling Queen of the Night. Josef Kostlinger is excellent as Tamino too, which is surprising in a sense since I have often come across some dashing, beautifully-sung but very bland tenors in the role.
Irma Urrila is very poignant as Pamina, and the three ladies and three boys are very well blended. Ulrik Cold's Sarastro is firm in the acting, but part of me would have liked a darker and perhaps more powerful voice, but he does do very well. Ragnar Ulfung's Monosatos is rather over-played for my liking.
As for staging, I liked it, especially the two trials and the delightful Papagaeno-Papagaena duet. The decision to especially move Papagaeno's second aria to the second trial was actually a very good one. Only the first scene with the dragon struck a false note with me, the dragon looked decent but Kothlinger's acting could've been much more panicked.
Overall, despite the few flaws I had with it, it is a great film and one of my favourites to do with opera. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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