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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati









Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
Die Zauberflöte K620 (1791)
Matti Salminen (bass) – Sarastro; Christoph Strehl (tenor) – Tamino; Elena Mosuc (soprano) – Queen of the Night; Julia Kleiter (soprano) – Pamina; Ruben Drole (baritone) – Papageno; Eva Liebau (soprano) – Papagena; Garbriel Bermúdez (bass) – Speaker; Sandra Trattnigg (soprano) – First Lady; Martina Welschenbach (mezzo) – Second Lady; Katharina Peetz (contralto) – Third Lady; Rudolf Schasching (tenor) – Monostatos; Andreas Winkler (tenor) – First Priest, First Armed Man; Morgan Moody (bass) – Second Priest, Tomasz Slawinski (bass) – Second Armed Man; Soloists of the Boys choir Tölz (treble) – Three Boys.
Chorus and Orchestra of the Zurich Opera/Nikolaus Harnoncourt
rec. live, Zurich Opera House, February 2007, Swiss Television/3sat
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 004400734367 [125:00 (incl. Bonus: 44:00) + 101:00]


Experience Classicsonline

For most opera-lovers, this Zauberflöten DVD will likely be disqualified if only on account of its wildly mediocre singing. Perhaps the voices were not well recorded, either. It’s difficult to tell what or who the main culprits are but none of the singers – save perhaps Matti Salminen’s Sarastro – are particularly worth listening to.

That is a shame in principle, because I find a Nikolaus Harnoncourt–Martin Kušej Mozart-collaboration a very exciting proposition given their spectacular and dramatic La Clemenza di Tito production from Salzburg. Too bad, then, that the production matches the singing. 

This is not on account of any lack of ideas or their quality, or a surplus of director’s ego – but sadly for execution. Kušej and stage designer Rolf Glittenberg explain their principally genial concept of setting The Magic Flute as a string of fantastical episodes in the mysteriously dark cellar of a house. This is all from a child’s point of view and imagination however the reality of the production – half “Terminal”, half “Snakes on a Plane” – ruins it. 

Had the envisioned setting been translated more effectively, the Three Ladies “of the night” being blind might have come off better. The grayish basement-imp of a Queen of the Night might have invoked a dreamy or nightmarish sense. And instead of covering Papageno with feathers, dousing his suit with bird shit might have been “compellingly effective” - as a Vienna on-line magazine described the production. Instead, according to Zurich’s major daily, it’s not “astoundingly clever”; it’s just too clever by half. 

A good modern Magic Flute would be highly welcome, and if Kušej were to try again, I’d be very eager indeed to see it. But this wimpishly sung production can’t possibly be the realization of his own ambitions. Harnoncourt’s flexible and pointed conducting is not nearly enough to rescue the project. 

Jens F. Laurson 




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