Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: DG Originals
WORKS: Die Zauberflöte
PERFORMER: Franz Crass, Roberta Peters, Evelyn Lear, Fritz Wunderlich, Dietrich Fischer-DieskauRIAS Chamber Choir, Berlin PO/Karl Böhm
CATALOGUE NO: 449 749-2 ADD Reissue
Böhm’s 1964 Zauberflöte has long been a strong recommendation. This reissue does not dethrone its position, nor is it diminished by later versions concerned with ‘correct’ performing practice. Its limitation is that it is a classic studio production of its era, with theatricality not among its virtues. Böhm’s tempi now seem obstinately unyielding; Fischer-Dieskau’s Papageno is sorely stretched in ‘Bei Männern’, and Evelyn Lear’s Pamina starved of help in ‘Ach, ich fühl’s’.

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On the plus side, Böhm’s speeds do lock into a powerful, if sacerdotal, view of the whole. The principal jewel is Fritz Wunderlich’s Tamino, incomparable in its lyric ardour, musicality and tangible characterisation. There is a rock-like Sarastro from Franz Crass and fine Sprecher from Hans Hotter. Evelyn Lear is a radiant Pamina, and Roberta Peters has the stratospheric measure of Queen of the Night. Patrick Carnegy