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Robert Farr
MusicWeb International, December 2012

This 1982 production from the Salzburg Festival is outstanding in respect of singing, production and orchestral playing. © 2012 MusicWeb International

Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, February 2012

Ponnelle’s creative use of the stage space and arcades is remarkable. The cast [are]…all outstanding interpreters and totally at ease with the vocal demands of the music. Altogether we have a stunning success on the cards. Then add a conductor and orchestra in whose blood the music ran and a memorable performance was to be expected and was realised.

…this is a top recommendation for this wonderful work. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bob Rose
Fanfare, July 2011

This performance was previously issued on a TDK DVD, and was reviewed in Fanfare 29:4 by Barry Brenesal, who stated his admiration for the stage director, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. In my opinion Ponnelle had a flair for comedy…

In this production the set, as Brenesal notes, is that of an exterior and interior of an ancient crumbling stone temple. The Queen of the Night and her ladies are dressed in Baroque gowns, while Sarastro and his followers are costumed as representatives of enlightenment. Ponnelle also designed the costumes.

Ponnelle’s flair for comedy is represented by Christian Boesch, who steals the show as Papageno. He sings well and acts superbly. Peter Schreier has the kind of lyric tenor that is suitable for the role of Tamino; Ileana Cotrubas is an acceptable Pamina. I have never been particularly fond of Edita Gruberova. As Brenesal notes, she is better in her first-act aria, but in “Der Hölle Rache” she exhibits a wide vibrato. Martti Talvela is an excellent Sarastro. The voice of Horst Hiestermann, the Monostatos, wobbles and is frequently off pitch. Walter Berry is a fine Speaker.

James Levine collaborates well with the soloists, and his tempos are fine. The sound is excellent and subtitles in English are available. Although I would not rate this Salzburg performance at the top of the list, I agree with Barry Brenesal, who said, “This is definitely a Die Zauberflöte to enjoy.”

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