Mozart Die Zauberflöte Strehl Röschmann AbbadoWolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Die Zauberflöte

CAST: Dorothea Röschmann: Pamina, Christoph Strehl: Tamino, Hanno Müller-Brachmann: Papageno, George Zeppenfel: Sprecher, Kurt Azesberger: Monostatos, Caroline Stein, Heidi Zehnder, Anne-Carolyn Schlüter: Three Ladies of the Queen of the Night, Alexander Lischke, Niklas Mallmann, Frederic Jost: Three Geniuses, Julia Kleiter: Papagena, René Pape: Sarastro, Erika Miklosa: Queen of the Night
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Claudio Abbado, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 2006

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This is the first recording of Die Zauberflöte conducted by Claudio Abbado, made in a late stage of his career. An internationally acclaimed perfomer of Verdi and Rossini operas, Abbado recorded Mozart’s final masterpiece during a series of live performances at the Teatro Comunale in Modena with a fine cast of young singers, including Dorothea Röschmann, who can be considered the best Pamina of our time.

Conduction

Claudio Abbado leads the Mahler Chamber Orchestra with his usual composure and insight. His tempos are quite fast and the Singspiel appears light and agile under his baton. Abbado draws a bright, vivid colour from the amazing Mahler Chamber Orchestra and makes the music sparkle. The result is that this Zauberflöte is shimmering, vibrant and well-finished as a gem and that beguiles with its original melodic strands and with its glowing power.

Singers

The great conductor is surrounded by first-rate singers. First of all, Christoph Strehl is an outstanding Tamino, a role he sings with remarkable command. His voice is smooth and polished, so that the sound is incredibly effortless and natural and, to his outstanding musicality, he adds his sensibility as an interpreter, presenting a brave and romantic Tamino.

Dorothea Röschmann already sang Pamina in the famous production of Die Zauberflöte staged at the Royal Opera House a couple of years before this recording. In the present one, she is as fine as in the other performance, so it is difficult to choose which one you prefer. As I wrote in my other review, Röschmann’s Pamina is characterized with strong, human feelings as well as with impeccable musicality.

Hanno Müller-Brachmann is equally excellent as Papageno and he combines an fine vocal timbre to a charming way of singing. His Papageno is neither static nor mockingly exaggerated and is remarkable for its elegant musicianship and charming personality.

Erika Miklosa is overall good as the Queen of the Night, though at times she seems not perfectly at ease and, especially in the second aria, she emphasizes too much her agility and gives the aria a sense of predictability. Overall, however, Miklosa is a very good singer who is noteworthy for her smoothness and for the brightness of her high notes – more than ever important for this role.

René Pape is a solemn and wise Sarastro, who maybe does not reveal those traits of stupefied humanity which is always a pleasure to listen from him, but who is not disappointing thanks to his insight, constantly embellished by a warm and rich timbre.

Other remarkable members of the cast are Kurt Azesberger as Monostatos and the charming Julia Kleiter as Papagena, while Caroline Stein, Heidi Zehnder, Anne-Carolyn Schlüter are three wonderful Ladies of the Queen of the Night and Alexander Lischke, Niklas Mallmann, Frederic Jost are three fine Geniuses.

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