Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Herbert von Karajan / Edith Mathis / Karin Ott

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Herbert von Karajan's 1980 recording of Die Zauberflöte is a sturdy account of the opera. The Berlin Philharmonic is a larger ensemble than is often used for the opera, but the orchestra plays with fleet delicacy and Karajan's reading is nicely nuanced and well-paced. The cast is for the most part very fine. Francisco Araiza and Edith Mathis make a robust royal couple, and Mathis is simply splendid in the clarion purity of her delivery. Gottfried Hornik grows into the role of Papageno, and by the end of the first act he seems to have hit his stride. Janet Perry's Papagena is somewhat more subtle than is usual for the part, but to good effect. Surprisingly, José van Dam is less than imposing as Sarastro because his lower register sounds uncharacteristically thin and forced. As the Queen of the Night, Karin Ott is impressively effortless sounding and precise, although her voice is somewhat small. It's luxury casting to have singers of the caliber of Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Agnes Baltsa, and Hanna Schwarz as the Three Ladies. The performance's weakest link is the singing of the Three Boys, who sound breathy and strangulated. The dialogue is fast paced and moves the drama along convincingly. Deutsche Grammophon's sound is clean, well-balanced, and spacious. This may not be the most sublime performance of the opera on disc, but it is entirely respectable, and has moments of great beauty.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
1
11:18
2
2:59
3
3:59
4
7:48
5
5:15
6
5:52
7
1:12
8
4:09
9
1:47
10
3:45
11
4:04

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620
1
5:10
2
4:58
3
3:53
4
4:08
5
5:15
6
5:55
7
5:30
8
7:29
9
7:38
10
2:27
11
2:59
blue highlight denotes track pick