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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect introduction to Opera--3-7 year olds
This is sheer genius! Put the opera in CD form, and attach a nice picture book for children, and you have a perfect classic. I hope more books like this are on the way. This is a perfect introduction to a masterwork of opera.
I confess that "The Magic Flute" is my favorite opera. It retells the ancient Freemason legends in opera and dramatic form, so you know...
Published on November 27, 2002 by Kendal B. Hunter

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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you're getting the right version!
I just wanted to warn people thinking of getting this book -- make sure you're getting the one you want! The editorial review for the children's version of "The Magic Flute" refers in part to a Black Dog Opera version -- *that's* the one with the libretto and two CDs. The children's version (retold by Anne Gatti) has only one CD of selections from the...
Published on March 11, 2000 by Jan A. Heirtzler


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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you're getting the right version!, March 11, 2000
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This review is from: The Magic Flute (Hardcover)
I just wanted to warn people thinking of getting this book -- make sure you're getting the one you want! The editorial review for the children's version of "The Magic Flute" refers in part to a Black Dog Opera version -- *that's* the one with the libretto and two CDs. The children's version (retold by Anne Gatti) has only one CD of selections from the opera, and no libretto, just a retelling of the story. I bought the children's version by mistake, based on the editorial review and the customer reviews (some of which also claim that 2 CDs are included), but it turns out these do not refer at all to the children's version.
That said, if you're just looking for something for your kids, definitely go for the children's version (ASIN 0811810038). The illustrations are cute, and the text is written to follow along with the CD selections... fine for the age range they indicate. If, however, you want the full libretto with translations, and the full opera on CD, make sure you get the "Black Dog" version which is referenced as "hardcover edition" on the kid's version page. (Hope that makes sense!)
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect introduction to Opera--3-7 year olds, November 27, 2002
By 
Kendal B. Hunter (Provo, UT United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Magic Flute (Hardcover)
This is sheer genius! Put the opera in CD form, and attach a nice picture book for children, and you have a perfect classic. I hope more books like this are on the way. This is a perfect introduction to a masterwork of opera.
I confess that "The Magic Flute" is my favorite opera. It retells the ancient Freemason legends in opera and dramatic form, so you know that the story is rather primeval and sacred. I am glad, therefore, to see that someone has transposed the story for children. The book and the legend hold up well against "The Odyssey," Shakespeare, and Harry Potter, and the story has an incredible soundtrack to boot.
After all, we are really focused on the mysterious music and the incredible love story of Tamino and Pamina, and the trials that keep these two apart. The more I read and ponder the story, and ultimately its esoteric message, the more I love this story.
The CD is perfect and without hiss or crackle. The book is geared for a 3-7 year old, and doesn't do the story justice. However, it is a great introduction to this opera.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You've Tried The Rest, Now Try The Best, December 31, 2002
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The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflute in German) was Mozart's final opera. It was his favorite and undoubtedly his greatest achievement. When he was in his deathbed, it was said that Mozart requested to hear the score to the Magic Flute one last time. Mozart was a Freemason, although he had been raised as a Catholic and enjoyed sponsorship by the Archbishop of Salzburg for some time. His conversion; into what was a religious and philosophical organization that praised the Englightenment and mystic Egyptian/Zoroastrian beliefs, effected and influenced his musical composition. He had already written music for a Masonic Funeral and Freemasonry deeply influenced the Requiem in D Minor.
This recording is out of print in cd form and was probably an LP in the 70's. In 1972, Walter Sawallisch, the Bavarian State Orchestra and the talents of Peter Schreir (Tamino), Annelise Rothenberger (Pamina), Walter Berry (Papageno), Kurt Moll (Sarastro) and Edda Moser (The Queen of the Night) put together what is the definitive, the greatest, the most perfect, the one and only Magic Flute. If you've heard the rest, now try the best. Contrary to the negative comments of the other reviewers, the Black Dog Opera Library has done an excellent job of making this opera accessible, a book full of great illustrations and liner notes on the singers, Mozart and his era. Yes, the Magic Flute has been unjustly considered and theatrically treated as a children's opera, a fairy tale with no real substance, a great work sugar coated into something like Broadway musical or cartoon. Singspiel was great opera (Mozart had tried the form previously with Abduction From The Seraglio) but unlike grand opera, it was more accessible to the ordinary people, to folks who loved catchy tunes they could whistle in the streets on organ grinders or for children to sing at play. It was a people's opera, not a stuffy, overly pompous piece of work. In a way, it was like Broadway or cartoons, simply because people could have fun at the opera. (For an example, take a look at the film Amadeus, in which Mozart is commissioned to write the Magic Flute for a more folk-oriented, Vienna lower class who drank beer and played games on stage while watching the opera, in a nearly circus like environment).
Discreetly embellished with Masonic symbolism (the three opening bombastic chords in the Overture, the Three Ladies, the Three Young Boys in the Balloon, the Egyptian rituals of purification, the choruses and the Zoroastrian figure of Sarastro) are all examples. Allegorically, it was the struggle between the ruling court of Empress Maria Teresa and the supression of Masonry in Austria. This book clearly states this fact. Thus, the powerfully evil Queen of the Night, whose arias are icy coloratura, represents Maria Teresa, Pamina represents the beautiful and faithful Austria, Tamino evidently Emperor Franz Joseph or simply any good person who is beckoned by a noble human cause and finally, Papageno is the earthy, common folk who is no less a great one. This recording is absolutely the best. Peter Schreir is a superlative tenor di grazie, highlights being his aria Dies Bildnis and his scenes with Pamina, Annelise Rothenberger a lyric soprano who reaches perfection in her aria "Ach Ich Fuhls" and her union with Tamino in the trial of fire. Kurt Moll's Sarastro is poignant, spiritual, a voice suited for God, whose low F's are contrasted by the sinister, neurotic, tempestuous raging scales of Edda Moser's Queen of the Night, who reaches high F's. The score to the opera is spiritual. Nothing Mozart ever wrote could be more spiritual, full of majesty, obscurity, joy, awe and power. Five stars for this excellent recording.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction To Opera, Outstanding Recording, December 27, 2002
By 
The Black Dog Opera Library Series had outdone themselves once again. In this 1972 recording of Mozart's last opera, we are treated to a fine performance by fine singers, a fully illustrated book with liner notes and commentary, as well as information useful in biographies on the composer and his time. Mozart was close to his death bed at the time he composed The Magid Flute. He made an opera that could be enjoyed at many levels. At one level, it is a comic, brilliant fairy tale for children, at another level, it is deeply symbolic and layed with Masonic ideals of universal brotherhood and love. Mozart and his librettist were both Freemasons, a religous "sect" that was under hot water in 18th century Vienna for its pagan origins and its advocation of ideas of the Enlightenment. The story is about Tamino, a prince who is lost in a strange land (originally, a mystic Egypt), who is rescued from a serpent by three mysterious women and promised the hand of the daughter of the Queen of the Night if he saves her from the wizard Sarastro. Together with the help of the comic bird-catcher, Papageno, he sets out on his adventure. But halfway through the opera, he discovers that he has been deceived. The Queen of the Night is the true villain and Sarastro is really a holy man. After many trials, the forces of evil are defeated and the opera ends blissfully with a victory.
Musically and dramatically, it is Mozart's greatest opera. From the striking Overture to the use of dark strings, trumpet and soaring flute passages, the individual arias which express intense emotions to the neverending theme that good triumphs over evil, the Magic Flute stands out as a great opera to begin with for newcomers and a favorite for old time opera fans.
In this recording, conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch leads the Bavarian State Orchestra in a highly effective, thoroughly dramatic and sentimental, full interpretation of Mozart's score. Tenor Peter Schreir as Tamino is exceptional, passionate in his aria "Dies Bildnis" (This portrait), and again as he plays his flute in "Wie Stark ist Nicht dein Zauberton" (How powerful is your music, magic flute), his individual lines in the ensembles and his duet with Pamina as they undergo the final trial of fire. Annelise Rothenberger, a sublime German lyric soprano, is moving in her portrayal of Pamina. She has her moments in this recording. Note how her high, melodic voice seems to come from nowhere as she confronts Sarastro and Tamino for the first time "Herr! Ich bin zwar Verbrecherin ! (Sir! I am the transgressor). Her aria "Ach Ich Fuhls" (O, I feel that happy days have passed) is the finest interpretation, full of pathos and a kind of melancholic madness, as well as her lines in her suicide attempt, finally, she is sublime as a strong woman ready to face trials with Tamino, especially striking when she sings the line "Tamino!".
Kurt Moll's Sarastro is without question the best. His voice is suited for God. So divine and sonorous and full of grace, his voice is especially noticeable in the aria "O Isis and Osiris " and "In deisen Heilen Hallen"( In these holy halls). Finally, and not to be missed, is Edda Moser's incredible interpretation of the Queen of the Night. You have not heard the true Queen of the Night, until you've heard Edda Moser. She has a Wagnerian intensity and neurosis in her lines, apt and effective for the role of a Queen bent on deception and the murder of her rival, Sarastro. Her aria "O Zittre Nicht, Mein Lieber Son" (O tremble not, beloved son" is full of lyric dramatic passages and coloratura at the end. The vengeance aria "Der Holle Rache Kocht Meine Herzen "(Hell's Anger Burns Within My Heart) is full of fire. The way she attacks the dramatic, powerful lines is out of this world and the high F's she escalates are unsurpassed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a great book., January 19, 1998
By 
This review is from: The Magic Flute (Hardcover)
I got The Magic Flute for Christmas. My teacher is almost finished reading it to the class. We also listen to the CD after she reads the part to it. Some people in my class don't know if they like it a lot or not. Most of them love it. Ruth Stuart, 2nd grade
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Introduction to the Opera, February 22, 2001
As someone newly-introduced to "The Magic Flute," I have no knowledge of other performances. I bought this book and CD set in order to familiarize myself and my wife with this opera prior to viewing it live. What a perfect introduction it was. The singing is absolutely beautiful, and the explanation of the history of the composer and opera and pictures from past performances were exactly what I needed to feel prepared to understand it live. We will be purchasing the entire Black Dog Opera Library set in order to begin educating ourselves about opera. A great study tool for the ignorant!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute" is wonderfully explained., April 8, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Magic Flute (Hardcover)
I received the book "Magic Flute" for Christmas. Since then I have read the book twice and listened to the included CDs 25 times. The book covers the essential elements of the history of the opera, including Mozart's reasons for writing this opera and the events that influanced it. As well as a history lesson I received a German lesson. The included libretto is in the original German, as well as the English translation. Comments about different performances of this opera are scattered throughout the book, giving the reader depth and understanding to the opera. The CDs that are included with the book are wonderfully done. One can hardly listen to the opera and not experiance every emotion possible. Mozart has the ability to transform ones scenses from on extreem to the other. In short this book and CD is highly educational and entertaining.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story-telling, March 14, 2004
P. Craig Russell's drawing style seems especially apt for stories of enchanted lands and beings. His lines are light and airy, and he sets a mood nicely with color. In other words, he is ideally suited to illustrate this story.
He does a delightful job of it, too. He amplifies all of the characters theatrically beyond the believable, and has one small advantage over true opera - he is never at the mercy of the set designers, costumers, or other effects.
I am very glad to see this classic of western culture (and the others coming soon) made available in this format. I confess, I have not fully acquired the taste for opera, or the ability to derive the story from the way it is sung. I do, however, want to know at least a bit of the story, and this is a very digestible form. Russell's drawing makes it more than digestible, it's a real confection. I also appreciate the fact that Russell has adapted the story, and not created a new one from fragments of the classic.
Opera buffs - I hope you can accept this for what it is. One way to look at this is opera appreciation on training wheels, a painless entry into part of the operatic art. It's also a way to spread some knowledge of this classic across a generation that might not have been exposed to the story otherwise - certainly a good thing.
If nothing else, it's a well-drawn comic by a very capable artist. It's that "else" that makes this comic stand out. I'm looking forward to the next Russell operas.
(This reviews the book without the CD.)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST Queen of the Night ever, September 14, 2000
By A Customer
As someone who has studied over 20 recording of Flute, I can say that this is the BEST Queen on record BY FAR! They need to invent a new fach (heldencoloratura) for Edda Moser. Simply thrilling. Worth buying the book and CDs for her 12 minutes alone, but the rest of the cast is excellent, as is the information in the accompanying book. Plus, where can you find a complete recording for cheaper? This recording would make an excellent addition to the opera library of novices and aficionados alike.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality books and recordings, April 30, 2000
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Nowhere else will you find such a deal. I was skeptical at first, but was not disappointed when my first Black Dog set came in the mail. The book is extremely informative, helpful, and educational, and the CDs are high-quality recordings of notable performances. I do not know how they do it for such a good price, but get them while you can --- I wish I had know about these two years ago!
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The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflote) in Full Score (Dover Music Scores)
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