Charles Mackerras turns in a fleet and elegant performance of Die Zauberflöte with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Chorus. Barbara Hendricks is especially good as Pamina, singing with radiant and regal tone. Jerry Hadley's tenor is not the most sensual instrument, but he sings with passion and musicality. As the Queen of the Night, June Anderson is certainly up to the task, but she lacks the fiery fury to make the character genuinely frightening; her vocal pyrotechnics are impressive but not thrilling. Robert Lloyd manages the role of Sarastro adequately, but he doesn't have the authority and gravity to anchor the opera as the character should. Thomas Allen's Papageno maneuvers the fine line of being funny without descending into slapstick, and his voice is warm and supple; it's an especially ingratiating performance, one of the finest Papagenos on disc. Ulrike Steinsky is a hilarious and adorable Papagena. The singing in the secondary roles is uniformly very fine. The selection of excerpts is generous; at almost 80 minutes, it includes well over half of the music in the opera. The sound is clear, and the engineers create a convincing sense of dramatic space, with tasteful and convincing sound effects.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620|