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Mozart - Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) (1991)

Kathleen Battle , Francisco Araiza , Brian Large  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kathleen Battle, Francisco Araiza, Manfred Hemm, Kurt Moll, Luciana Serra
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Writers: Emanuel Schikaneder
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: Unknown (PCM Stereo), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Chinese
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: December 12, 2000
  • Run Time: 169 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000050X31
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,978 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mozart - Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Opera conducted by James Levine and featuring the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Stars Kathleen Battle, Luciana Serra, Francisco Araiza and Barbara Kilduff.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
83 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musically the best flute ever.... July 3, 2004
Format:DVD
I am a long time magic flute lover, who has heard or owned most of the major recording out there. Recently I started buying Mozart opera DVD's as they were good to introduce friends to the operas. I first bought the recent Davis/Royal Opera version, but found it a very mixed bag, so I decided to go for this one since Kurt Moll was always my favorite Sarastro on record and he sings the part here (The Sarastro on Davis was very dissapointing).
The bad news is that Moll is not in quite as good voice as he was in either his Solti or Davis CD audio only performances. The good news is that he is still magnificent, and this is the best Zauberflote I have ever heard!
I never had much respect for James Levine as a conductor. Well that has changed. For reference, my favorite flute's ever were 1)Christie on Erato 2)Klemperer on EMI 3)Beecham on EMI. All had there problems, but Christie I found to be the overall best flute I knew including all cast, conducting, acting, and recording. And it has been replaced by a DVD flute!
What I loved about this performance:
First of all the conducting is very fine. It is very sharp and disciplined performance with precise singing (litte romantic sliding of notes) and there is, best of all, a wonderful sense of listening between all the singers and the orcherstra. It was obviously meticulously rehearsed for the 1991 Mozart celebrations. Mozart is the most difficult music to perform because you cannot get away with any emotional sloppiness, which means a luminous precision is always called for. This performance has this quality better than any other I know.
There are some weak bits in my opinion however. A few of the arias really drag their feet in a failed attempt for the conductor and singer to find the right inspiration.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It couldn't be better! June 21, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Artist David Hockney's set design adds a wonderful dimension to this production (which premiered in San Francisco with a mostly different cast). Given that "The Magic Flute" is a fairy tale, I found the imaginative and whimsical sets very pleasing. The cast is wonderful too. Kathleen Battle's Pamina is beautiful to behold and wonderful to listen to -- her voice is sweet, never shrill. Manfred Hemm as Papageno is just cute enough, nicely engaging and the perfect comic actor for this role. The stately Kurt Moll as Sarastro the high priest sings with the voice of God himself (as well he should in the aria 'Im diesen heilgen Hallen'). Luciana Serra simply IS the Queen of the Night. If I don't mention the others, it's for lack of space. James Levine's orchestra is topnotch (well, this is the Met, so what else would it be?). Subtitles make the "singspiel" libretto accessible to us English speakers. If you want a definitive version of "The Magic Flute," take my advice and buy this one!
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite flute ever.... July 3, 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I am a long time magic flute lover, who has heard or owned most of the major recording out there. Recently I started buying Mozart opera DVD's as they were good to introduce friends to the operas. I first bought the recent Davis/Royal Opera version, but found it a very mixed bag, so I decided to go for this one since Kurt Moll was always my favorite Sarastro on record and he sings the part here (The Sarastro on Davis was very dissapointing).
The bad news is that Moll is not in quite as good voice as he was in either his Solti or Davis CD audio only performances. The good news is that he is still magnificent, and this is the best Zauberflote I have ever heard!
I never had much respect for James Levine as a conductor. Well that has changed. For reference, my favorite flute's ever were 1)Christie on Erato 2)Klemperer on EMI 3)Beecham on EMI. All had there problems, but Christie I found to be the overall best flute I knew including all cast, conducting, acting, and recording. And it has been replaced by a DVD flute!
What I loved about this performance:
First of all the conducting is very fine. It is very sharp and disciplined performance with precise singing (litte romantic sliding of notes) and there is, best of all, a wonderful sense of listening between all the singers and the orcherstra. It was obviously meticulously rehearsed for the 1991 Mozart celebrations. Mozart is the most difficult music to perform because you cannot get away with any emotional sloppiness, which means a luminous precision is always called for. This performance has this quality better than any other I know.
There are some weak bits in my opinion however. A few of the arias really drag their feet in a failed attempt for the conductor and singer to find the right inspiration.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Manfred Hemm as Papageno steals the spotlight December 14, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A generally enjoyable DVD!
Die Zauberflote, Mozart's last opera, performed on this disc by the Metropolitan Opera under the direction of James Levine.
The cast features such stars as Kathleen Battle (Pamina), Fancisco Araiza (Tamino), Manfred Hemm (Papageno), Kurt Moll (Sarasto), and Luciana Serra as the Queen of the Night. Brian Large, who has vast experience with opera, directs this major work.
This opera showcases the voice and acting skills of Kathleen Battle: she is brilliant, beautiful and with a voice that could only be described as a gift. Also noteworthy are the exquisite vocals by Luciana Serra as the Queen of the Night. However, it is Manfred Hemm as Papageno who steals the spotlight: from beginning to end, his funny interpretation of his character (accompanied by his great voice) carries this work to its fitting conclusion.
The only negative comment (thus the loss of one star) was the surreal quality of the sets. Frankly, I thought they were ugly and if anything, detracted from an otherwise stellar performance. Also the overture featured, I felt, a little too much of James Levine: surely, some more shots of the orchestra could have been inserted here somewhere.
While The Magic Flute is not my favorite opera by Mozart, this is, all things being considered, an enjoyable performance. Musically, I could honestly recommend this DVD.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I have seen a number of productions of the Magic Flute, and this is the best. The Magic Flute is essentially both a man's journey in deciding to become a Freemason and his... Read more
Published 5 months ago by R Stephen Doan
5.0 out of 5 stars What I was looking for
I absolutely love it.

I have been looking for the Magic Flute for long time and finally found it.

I am very happy with my purchase.
Published 6 months ago by Gabino Pintado
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed very much
Bought this because of Kurt Moll. Enjoy listening to his singing. I don't care for contemporary scenery but this was well done. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Barbara Chisler
5.0 out of 5 stars Recipient of this gift loved it.
This item was purchased as a gift for a teenager who has already made music his career. He has likely already watched this several times and will be watching it again and again, I... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Karin M. Salzman
4.0 out of 5 stars Kurt Moll
I give this DVD four out of five stars because of the magnificent Kurt Moll, He is worth waiting for. The rest are merely adequate. Hockney's sets are cute, but distracting. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Donald Waits
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, would buy again
The product was perfect! Just as described and in mint condition. Glad the money is going to a charitable cause.
Published on May 29, 2012 by Marco
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun evening for the whole family
I bought this for only one reason...to have an opera with Ms. Battle in it when she was in her prime. Very difficult to choose one Magic Flute over all the fine versions out there. Read more
Published on March 21, 2011 by sergei kochkin
1.0 out of 5 stars Mozart - Die Zauberflote Kathleen Battle
I was very disappointed because the VHS tape was not in good condition and was truly unviewable. The
picture wasn't steady . I gave up trying to view it after a short while. Read more
Published on August 11, 2010 by Emilie Harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart's Magic Flute
This presentation by the Met is superb. The production from scenery to costumes to the marvelous cast and orchestra is enchanting. Read more
Published on November 21, 2009 by Catherine Mason
4.0 out of 5 stars Great soloists, rotten choir
Save for Araiza as Tamino (he delivers a boring, wooden performance), the soloists on this production are superb. Kathleen Battle is pure and radiant as Pamina. Read more
Published on February 15, 2009 by True North
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