Tuesday 12 December 2023

That gorgeous transitional passage in The Magic Flute - Act One


For me, this section of The Magic Flute by Mozart is one of the supreme passages of opera; which is all melodies yet moves the plot along like recitative (if only Wagner had based his seamless style on this aria-based continuity; rather than making everything more like recit!). As always with the best of Mozart opera, on a second go it is wise to listen to what is going on in the orchestra; the delicate aptness of which is supernatural.  

It's from the Ingmar Bergman movie, which is in Swedish; and sheer delight throughout. It is not the most musical "Flute" (that would be Solti's recording) but is surely the most enjoyable. 

This begins with Papageno getting his "gag" removed by the three ladies, the gifts of the magical flute and bells, and then the introduction of three boys who take-over as guides for the hero and his sidekick.

Note: The second (blonde) lady is played by Kirstin Vaupel, who is surely one of the loveliest singers I have seen - in a characteristically Swedish style.   


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I generally have zero interest in opera, but The Magic Flute is the one exception, and I agree that Bergman's version, which I've watched many times, is particularly delightful.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - Nowadays, and for the past few decades, I have very little interest in operas per se - just a handful of favourites; but I do love to listen to the great singers of particular arias.

a_probst said...

After seeing the Bergman film years ago I actually cancelled plans to buy a recording of the opera because the music was too effective. I felt as if I'd gorged myself on very rich food.

The antidote was, of course, other

Bruce Charlton said...

@a_p - I think I know what you mean. That movie was a truly inspired collaboration of art. As well as the direction and conception, Bergman made some very effective changes (improvements, I would say) to the libretto.

Having seen the movie broadcast on TV c1975, it was fortunate (but there are no coincidences!) that my local record library had the Bergman Flute boxed set of LPs, with a detailed booklet, so I could borrow and study it.

It was a longish wait of years before I saw it a second time, I think at a local arthouse movie theatre, then I bought a (very poorly reproduced) VHS video.