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Karl Lozier
Positive Feedback Online, July 2013

I certainly got completely engrossed in watching [The Magic Flute] many times in the past weeks as it simply grew on me…I shall give this release with its top notch audio quality my highest recommendation. If you just want to try a couple of operas get this one, Carmen and one from Wagner’s ring group. © 2013 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review

Anne Shelley
Music Media Monthly, February 2013

MOZART, W.A.: Zauberflote (Die) (La Scala, 2011) (NTSC) OA1066D
MOZART, W.A.: Zauberflote (Die) (La Scala, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7099D

The special effects in this 2011 production from La Scala are a spectacularly entertaining display of imagery and lights…this is a stunning production to see in Blu-ray.

Every execution in this production is very deliberate: slow tempi, crisp dictions, no sudden movements…as it’s wonderful to soak in the visuals and the more lyrical moments…The cast is strong, and as Papageno, Alex Esposito is hilarious: wide-eyed, goofy, endearingly wimpy. The disc features insightful interviews with director William Kentridge and conductor Roland Böer. Much more than a multimedia display, Kentridge’s design delivers the experience of watching a play and a movie at the same time. Recommended. © 2013 Music Media Monthly Read complete review

Andrew Quint
Fanfare, July 2012

MOZART, W.A.: Zauberflote (Die) (La Scala, 2011) (NTSC) OA1066D
MOZART, W.A.: Zauberflote (Die) (La Scala, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7099D

Kentridge imagines the stage as the interior of an antique camera, the perfect environment for the development of The Magic Flute’s themes of light vs. dark, of Enlightenment values vs. the forces of darkness. Visually, thanks to Kentridge’s and Sabine Theunissen’s set design, Jennifer Tipton’s lighting, and, especially, Catherine Meyburgh’s graceful video effects, the production is continuously spellbinding.

Musically and dramatically, the performances by all are quite respectable, if not exceptional. Conductor Richard Böer leads with a light touch and the La Scala chorus is predictably accomplished. The lead romantic couple is the chief vocal success here. The young Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu has a robustly Italianate instrument: Tamino’s firstaact aria (“Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön”) is expressive and lovingly shaped. As Pamina, Genia Kühmeier is a worthy heroine, her solidly supported soprano fresh and assertive. This Pamina radiates strength, even as she faints dead away on the divan. Albina Shagimuratova is a commanding Queen: She hits the high notes with a laser-like accuracy…

The sound from La Scala is quite good, with ideal vocal/orchestral balances. In multichannel, there’s a real sense of occasion as the audience murmurs around you before the house lights dim. © 2012 Fanfare

Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, May 2012

MOZART, W.A.: Zauberflote (Die) (La Scala, 2011) (NTSC) OA1066D
MOZART, W.A.: Zauberflote (Die) (La Scala, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7099D

The metaphor [where ‘blinding light means there is no more film in the projector’; and there is a box camera on the stage, through which the characters peer from time to time.] becomes reality in Kentridge’s brilliant use of video projections, including the serpent pursuing Tamino, the three temples, and various geometrical symbols.

The video projections are in black and white but there’s plenty of colour in the costumes…

…Excellent Queen and Pamina…Lively musical direction, incorporating…superfluous keyboard interjections. Don’t miss this visually enchanting and thought-provoking treat. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Lawrence Devoe, March 2012

The young cast…features some excellent voices that are well balanced. The videography and audio recording are both superb.

I have yet to see an Opus Arte video that has less than stellar visual appeal and this Die Zauberflöteis no exception. Director William Kentridge’s concepts are well supported by staging and costumes. The special effects are occasionally over the top but never less than atmospheric. The camera work is first rate. Colors are beautifully realized giving a life-like quality to the proceedings. The young cast is particularly telegenic.

The voice-orchestra balance is just about perfect. Details of the score are well articulated by the La Scala forces. While the cast is not as starry as some of the previously issued productions, the ensemble works well together and there is not really a weak link here.

In summary, this newest Blu-ray will give you great visual appeal, the best sonics to date, and singing that never disappoints and is, on occasion, spectacular. © Read complete review

Jeffrey Kauffman, March 2012

Kentridge provides [Die Zauberflöte] with a unique and evocative production design which includes all sorts of multimedia elements, including some fun but cogent animations that indeed seem to be depicting some kind of eternal battle between the forces of light and darkness.

It’s just an incredibly subtle and smart piece of stagecraft and it’s indicative of the intelligence Kentridge brings to this production.

Shagimuratova…has one of the most insanely difficult arias in the entire operatic repertoire, and she handles it generally well. The supporting cast is wonderful, and the performance caliber all around is playful without ever lapsing into silliness. The orchestra and chorus of the Teatro alla Scala also do admirable work under the baton of Conductor Roland Böer and Chorus Master Bruno Casoni.

…the real star here is undoubtedly William Kentridge. He has brought a verve and vivacity to this project which is visually arresting without ever ignoring the tenor and tone of Die Zauberflöte. This is a rare reimagining that manages to cast a venerable piece in a totally new light…without divorcing itself from its source. That’s some real magic, and it’s laudable.

Fidelity is exceptionally clear and precise, with very good balance between the singers, the ensemble and the orchestra. Dynamic range is quite good, especially with regard to the orchestra which exploits some dramatic changes in volume.

William Kentridge’s production of Die Zauberflöte is an incredibly invigorating and thoughtful reexamination of Mozart and Schikaneder’s ur-text, one that manages to artfully recast some of the inherent ideas of the original into a perfectly fitting new milieu. The production features a brilliant use of intriguing animations that offer such suitable yet provocative contrasts as a Masonic compass morphing into a metronome, with the arc of the metronome’s pendulum proscribing the same arc of the compass. The cast and orchestra is uniformly very good to excellent…the audio is excellent and the supplementary interview is also quite good. Highly recommended. © 2012 Read complete review

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