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Gramophone, December 2010

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Benjamin Ivry
CDNow, January 2002

"These singers, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, come through with unprecedented clarity in this new transfer by the gifted sound engineer Mark Obert-Thorn. The new reissue looks likely to replace them in the hearts of Mozart fans, offering a direct and true-to-life sound that appears honest and unmanipulated... Its qualities are ineffable, and Naxos' increasingly compelling historical series offers a budget-priced occasion for relishing them once more."

Philip Anson
La Scena Musicale

"This is known as the first 'complete' recording of Mozart's Die Zauberflote (even though most of the dialogue was cut). It was made in Nazi Berlin in 1937 and 1938 by subscription of the (British) Mozart Opera Society, and stands as a treasurable memento from a lost era. Sir Thomas Beecham conducts (save for the Queen's aria 'O zittre nicht' conducted excellently by Bruno Seidler-Winkler). Casting is strong-though fashions in Mozart performance have clearly changed since 1938. Danish tenor Helge Roswaenge is a Prince Tamino with almost Wagnerian pretensions more hammy and tragic than we are accustomed to in our tin soldier Taminos. The rest of the cast is German, with delightful punctilious diction. At 40, Tiana Lemnitz is a somewhat maternal Pamina, with a prayerful, Elsa-ish tone. Gerhard Husch's Papageno is well-rounded and solid without nonsense. Erna Berger's exquisite Queen of the Night has a stainless technique tempered with girlish pathos. Wilhelm Strienz is Sarastro Lite. The Three Ladies are delicate sprites rather than the saucy wenches we get today. The three boys are girls. Recorded sound and transfer by wizard Mark Obert-Thorn are astonishingly clear."

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