A birthday treat: The 2003 Covent Garden production of "Die Zauberflöte"

>> Saturday, June 27, 2009

My daughter, Lauren, gave me a very special gift for my birthday yesterday. Since I saw a clip of the German soprano, Diana Damrau singing the Queen of the Night in the 2003 Royal Opera House production of Die Zauberflöte with Sir Colin Davis, I have wanted to own it. Her performance as the dark and power-hungry queen is so impressive that I knew that the rest of the production must follow suit. I wasn't disappointed. We watched it twice, and the second time, Steph and I followed along with the orchestral score, (yes, I know, we're geeks!).

This is an elegant, charming, and sophisticated performance, drawing out and highlighting the deeper meanings of the story, and transforming it from a cute fairytale to the allegorical piece that Mozart and Schikaneder intended - the quest for enlightenment and the rejection of the fear and superstition of the church and the oppression of the aristocracy brought to the forefront. I've read mixed reviews on it, some claiming this interpretation is "too dark". I beg to differ, for this particular interpretation only exposes what it really is along with the revolutionary political and spiritual messages that its creators wanted to convey. Having sung the role of the Third Lady myself, I always liked this opera, but it never ranked among my favorites of Mozart's works. This production changed that for me, for yesterday I fell in love with it for the first time.

I've chosen several clips to share with you. Along with Damrau's exciting and chilling performance as the Queen of the Night, I found the performances of Dorothea Röschmann as Pamina, Will Hartmann as Tamino, Simon Keenlyside as Papageno, and Franz-Josef Selig as Sarastro to be every bit as compelling and profound. This was a well-matched, elegant cast which only added to the sophistication and beauty of the entire piece.


Derrick July 1, 2009 at 6:57 AM  

Hi Lynette,

I was able to catch a bit of this before I went off for the weekend but no time to comment!

Just enjoyed Papagena/o's duet very much. My own preference is always for rich, lavish sets and costumes rather than, for example, Papagano's woodcutter's look but the artistry is what counts ultimately.



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