Rolando Villazón / Klaus Florian Vogt / Yannick Nézet-Séguin / Regula Mühlemann / Franz-Josef Selig

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

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This 2019 recording was the sixth in the series of Mozart operas undertaken by tenor Rolando Villazón and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, a hot property in the operatic world at the time. It has sold well out of the gate. Perhaps this is because Die Zauberflöte, even more than other Mozart operas, was ripe for a fresh interpretation. It gets one in this production from the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, with Villazón taking for himself not the tenor role of Tamino, which you might expect, but that of the comic-romantic, usually baritone Papageno. It works here because it fits with Nézet-Séguin's overall conception of the work. You might divide recordings and performances of Die Zauberflöte into two groups: those that treat the opera as a small, semi-popular work, and those that take it at full scale. Nézet-Séguin decides he can have it all, and he pulls it off. Much of the opera is light and delicately funny, and Villazón adapts well to this. He avoids a cutesy sound throughout, and he isn't challenged in his lower register simply because Nézet-Séguin is not asking for a lot of volume. Klaus Florian Vogt's Tamino is similarly restrained. But when Mozart calls for a big sound, Nézet-Séguin is not afraid to draw the contrast. The Queen of the Night, Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova, offers an unusually muscular "Der Hölle Rache," avoiding any trace of squeakiness, and the scenes with Sarastro and his royal entourage are given full sonic splendor. The overall effect is an alternation between low comedy and spectacle, and this may have been very close to what Mozart and Schikaneder had in mind. The rest of the cast, mostly German, is uniformly strong, and this is a highly recommended Zauberflöte all in all.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Zauberflöte
1 06:00 Amazon
2 05:57 Amazon
3 00:11 Amazon
4 02:50 Amazon
5 02:32 Amazon
6 03:43 Amazon
7 00:41 Amazon
8 01:04 Amazon
9 03:27 Amazon
10 00:08 Amazon
11 05:35 Amazon
12 00:04 Amazon
13 01:48 Amazon
14 01:35 Amazon
15 03:01 Amazon
16 01:26 Amazon
17 07:28 Amazon
18 02:39 Amazon
19 01:04 Amazon
20 02:02 Amazon
21 01:37 Amazon
22 02:43 Amazon
23 02:04 Amazon
24 01:14 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Zauberflöte
1 02:24 Amazon
2 01:16 Amazon
3 02:48 Amazon
4 02:17 Amazon
5 00:51 Amazon
6 00:09 Amazon
7 02:58 Amazon
8 01:12 Amazon
9 01:14 Amazon
10 00:52 Amazon
11 02:56 Amazon
12 00:38 Amazon
13 03:48 Amazon
14 01:13 Amazon
15 01:30 Amazon
16 01:04 Amazon
17 03:55 Amazon
18 01:02 Amazon
19 02:37 Amazon
20 00:42 Amazon
21 02:43 Amazon
22 00:50 Amazon
23 04:11 Amazon
24 01:10 Amazon
25 01:38 Amazon
26 03:54 Amazon
27 07:53 Amazon
28 03:00 Amazon
29 05:24 Amazon
30 02:17 Amazon
31 01:47 Amazon
32 02:44 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick