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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) [Box set]

Sir Neville Marriner , Academy of St. Martin in the Fields , Kiri Te Kanawa , Cheryl Studer , Francisco Araiza , Samuel Ramey , Olaf Bar , Eva Lind , Jose van Dam , Ambrosian Opera Chorus Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Price: $54.10
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Product Details

  • Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa, Cheryl Studer, Francisco Araiza, Samuel Ramey, Olaf Bar, et al.
  • Orchestra: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
  • Conductor: Sir Neville Marriner
  • Audio CD (September 12, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B00000412K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,888 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
2. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
3. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
4. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
5. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
6. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
7. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
8. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
9. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
10. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
2. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
3. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
4. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
5. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
6. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
7. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
8. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
9. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
10. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
See all 28 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Neville Marriner and his orchestra, long-established experts in 18th-century music, are joined for this project by a smooth combination of veteran Mozartians who have recorded their roles before, and newcomers singing their parts for the first time on records. Three newcomers are familiar to opera fans from other work and slip easily into their roles: Olaf Baer (a superb Lieder singer) is an appealing Papageno, Cheryl Studer an impressive Queen of the Night and Samuel Ramey a monumental Sarastro. Kiri Te Kanawa and Francesco Araiza are veterans in their roles but manage to make the roles seem new. --Joe Mclellan

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
My enjoyment of this version has been enhanced by the fact that it was my first complete recording of Die Zauberflote on CD, after years of listening to the classic Klemperer recording spread over six sides of scratchy old vinyl. Even so, I think the Penguin CD Guide's "Top Recommendation" was probably a bit over the top. And this version will only appeal if you want a full dramatic performance with spoken dialogue in German between the songs and some fairly strident sound-effects.
Now for the good news: This is an extraordinarily beautiful recording to listen to, and what sets it even further apart from most recordings is the sublime quality of the acting. Ramey sings like a velvet volcano and exudes warmth and wisdom - his performance as Sarastro is almost definitive. Araiza is almost too sweet-sounding for his own good - he's really more lyric than dramatic - but he suits the living-room hi-fi better than a melodramatic belter like Gedda. Nobody will ever sing Pamina and the Queen like Gundula Janowitz and Lucia Popp in the classic Klemperer set, but Dame Kiwi and American Cheryl Studer are outstanding in their own right.
However, the performer who really makes this set is Olaf Bar in the central role of Papageno. He is funny - even if you don't speak German - and he is beautiful to hear. His voice has been disciplined and sensitized by years of lieder singing (he is probably the world's leading exponent of Schumann's songs), and he makes the happy/sad/deep/shallow personality of the Birdman come alive.
In short, I'm delighted with this recording. I'm told that there are better digital versions around, and for outright musicality and pacing (if you don't mind a dated sound) the old Klemperer set is unbeatable. But if you want a complete dramatic performance of the opera, rather than just a stand-up concert performance of the music, then I cannot recommend this Neville Marriner version too highly.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice, but flawed recording. December 14, 1999
Format:Audio CD
First off, I don't agree with the previous reviewers comments about The Magic Flute being racist and sexist. The Magic Flute, like Mozart's other operas, is about forgiveness and acceptance. Pamina is elevated to Priestess at the end of the opera- which was shocking in Mozart's day!
This is a fabulous recording, but there's one drawback, and it's too big to overlook- Cheryl Studer! She basically butchers The Queen of the Night. The airas are choppy, too subtle, and she cannot hit the high notes! The voice is far too thin than the commanding voice this role calls for. She is not on the level of other great queens of Jo, Deutekom, and Popp.
Although Kanawa and Ramey shine- which is reason alone to purchase this recording, Studer does it damage- to such a great extent that I cannot bring myself to listen to it again.
This is not meant as a slam against Studer. I respect her and do enjoy several recordings with her (Floyd's Susannah), however this role is not suited for her vocal abilities.
The Solti recording with Deutekom and Prey (as Papageno) is, in my opinion, the best recording out there. An added plus- it has the Vienna Philharmonic to back up the great cast!
While, admittedly, the orchestra on this set is wonderful too, but no orchestra can match the power of the Vienna Philharmonic!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Zauberflote works its magic for me. June 22, 2003
By Yi-Peng
Format:Audio CD
Although most reviews on these pages do not speak so favourably about this recording of Mozart's Zauberflote, I find that it is one that works well for me. Apart from the clear, natural and atmospheric recorded sound, I feel that there are several things that make this Flute well worth owning. Firstly, Marriner's sensitive way with Mozart shines through when he leads the cast and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields through this light-hearted score, giving it a Viennese lilt and a sensitive lyricism without compromising on the drama in its more forceful moments. Secondly, the cast is like a top-quality cast. Despite the fact that most of the cast members are not native Germans, everyone is still able to interact and listen to each other without showing off. Dame Kiri is, of course, radiant in her part of Pamina, and Cheryl Studer makes a weighty Queen of the Night with an agile and effortless coloratura in her two arias. Samuel Ramey's weighty and benevolent Sarastro, Francisco Araiza's heady-toned Tamino, and especially Olaf Bar's Papageno only add to the delight of the rest of the major cast, and I should say that the supporting cast, especially the Queen's three ladies who sing with a rhythmic verve, only complement the main players. Thirdly, I would say that this is a Zauberflote that fits comfortably onto two discs rather than three. This is not only practical financially, but it also saves us the trouble of having to change our discs in the middle of an act. Overall, I find this, along with the digital Flutes from Solti and Karajan, among my true definitive recordings of this light-hearted and accessible Mozart opera. But if I had to pick only one definitive choice, I find that this one is it, combining an idiomatic flair with a sensitive cast.
As an aside, there is a highlights version of this recording available that contains all the essential numbers you would hope to find on a Zauberflote highlights disc.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid, If Not Perfect Recording September 1, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Mozart's DIE ZAUBERFLOTE was the composer's last opera and has remained one of his most enduring works. Its plot is simple enough. The prince Tamino is on a journey. He sees a picture of the beautiful Pamina and is promised her hand in marriage by her mother, the Queen of the Night, that he if he rescues her from the evil Sarastro. Tamino sets out on his journey to rescue Pamina, armed with his magic flute. He is assisted by Papageno, who is also on a journey of love for his soul-mate Papagena. As they journey they discover that the Queen of the Night and not Sarastro is the evil one. The end of the opera has the two couples Tamino and Pamina and Papageno and Papagena united. Along the way they have a journey of self discovery. The themes of good v. evil, light and darkness, the search for love, and the surreal setting both is the past and present has led to all sorts of speculations as toy what the opera is truly about, but the mysterious setting and beautiful music has enchanted audiences for years.

This set has a number of credible performers. Kiri Te Kanawa's Pamina is probably the most consistent and involved performance on the set. I've always enjoyed tenor Francisco Araiza's voice. I'm not sure he ever received the recognition he deserves. Perhaps it's because his best known roles are not the powerhouse roles championed by other great tenors, or maybe he was born either too early or late. Pavarotti, Domingo, and Carreras dominated the stage in his early career and his voice was somewhat gone when before contemporary favorites such as Alanga and Flores took the stage. Araiza's arias are beautiful in this set, but apart from the arias he has moments where he tends to strain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's really good.
I chose this because I was going to see the opera and wanted to be familiar with it beforehand. Fell in love with her famous aria.
Published 9 months ago by M. Marchman
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed
One of the CDs in one of the products skipped, the other product was fine. I anticipated that I might get a defective product so I ordered two of them and had one good product and... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mary
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Performance, but in the Role of the Queen of the Night, Cheryl...
Her recordings of "Die Zauberflöte" (Philips 426-276-2, two CDs with booklet of libretto and notes) and "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" (in the economy edition, Sony... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Gerald Parker
3.0 out of 5 stars Overall, it's enjoyable enough...
I've owned this Magic Flute for close to ten years, sitting on the shelf and periodically I pull it out to give it a listen. I wasn't thrilled with it upon initial purchase. Read more
Published on January 30, 2011 by dv_forever
5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart
Mozart, lovely, lovely Mozart. One of the better operas, though not the exact version I would have wanted. Read more
Published on September 18, 2010 by John Concannon
3.0 out of 5 stars The starriest Zauberflote of all, but everyone's a bit off
When this Magic Flute under Neville Marrienr was first released in 1990, even th Gramophone, usually the first to cheer for him and for Kiri Te Kanawa, was taken aback. Read more
Published on July 3, 2006 by Santa Fe Listener
5.0 out of 5 stars What Mozart had in mind...
I am soooo tired of reading reviews where everyone has to completely demean the singers (i.e., Cheryl Studer) This Zauberflöte is superbly cast. Read more
Published on March 1, 2005 by Matt Mangialetti
4.0 out of 5 stars Better work but not available
What can one expect from the Mozartian soprano of the century.?? A treasury of some of the most sublime Mozart singing ever committed to disc. Read more
Published on May 7, 2004 by operalover
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop hating Studer!!!
This recording of "The Magic Flute" is great. The conductor does a good job and the orchestra plays well for him. Read more
Published on July 11, 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but has several weakness
This is a good version of The Magic Flute and that is that. It is not incredible, nor terrible, but good. Read more
Published on July 3, 2001
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