A delightful fairy tale, Mozart's final operatic legacy remains a great work in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Intertwining music of awesome purity and beauty with the conventions of musical comedy, it explores Man's search for truth and his confusion between the forces of light and dark. This production from The Drottningholm Court Theatre is conducted by Arnold Ostman and played on authentic period instruments.
This charming production of Mozart's last opera lacks the big-name stars and spectacular special effects found in other Magic Flute
videos, and its ambiance may strike patrons of the Vienna State Opera or the Met as quaintly provincial. But it is musically excellent and visually very close to what Mozart must have had in mind when he wrote the music.
The 400-seat Drottningholm Court Theatre in Stockholm flourished in Mozart's lifetime but was closed in 1800, leaving scenery, costumes, and stage machinery intact. Reopened (essentially, rediscovered) in the 1920s, it is now the scene of an annual summer opera festival featuring 18th-century works. A Drottningholm production is like time travel, with even the orchestra in period costumes playing period instruments.
Like the staging, the performance is scrupulously faithful to the opera's text and spirit. Two kinds of interpretation are required; operatic for the principal roles; folk or pop for the comic roles of Papageno and Papagena. Both requirements are expertly filled. --Joe McLellan