The Berliner Philharmoniker Releases Mozart's The Magic Flute on DVD and Blu-ray
The Berliner Philharmoniker releases on DVD and Blu-ray its first live performance of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), conducted by Music Director Sir Simon Rattle in his first interpretation of the opera and fully staged by the internationally renowned Canadian director Robert Carsen. This production of The Magic Flute inaugurated the Berliner Philharmoniker's first Easter Festival in Baden-Baden on March 23, 2013 and was recorded live on April 1 at Festspielhaus - Germany's largest opera house - during the sold-out festival. The DVD and Blu-ray will be released on the Berliner Philharmoniker's own label, available in the U.S. exclusively through the Berliner Philharmoniker online shop (shop.berliner-philharmoniker.de/zauberfloete.html).
"There are some pieces which are so brilliantly successful and so immediately popular that people tend to forget how extraordinary they are. But let's not forget what a raging masterpiece Mozart's Magic Flute is and how different it was from anything anybody had done before - even Mozart," said Sir Simon.
Sir Simon's reading of The Magic Flute was praised by the International Herald Tribune as "full of arresting details, such as finely judged dynamic contrast and instances when brief, recitative-like moments within musical numbers are given special attention." The Financial Times said, "He is, as always, master of the small moment; his phrases have wit and humanity," and that it is "the orchestra that sets this Zauberflöte apart from others ... [The Berliner Philharmoniker] has muscle and clout, clarity and personality."
The cast, described as "top-drawer" by the Financial Times, includes tenor Pavol Breslik as Tamino, soprano Ana Durlovski as The Queen of Night, soprano Kate Royal as Pamina, bass baritone Dimitry Ivashchenko as Sarastro, baritone Michael Nagy as Papageno, and soprano Regula Mühlemann as Papagena, with the Rundfunkchor Berlin (Berlin Radio Chorus) and chorus master Simon Halsey.
Mr. Carsen, who has directed productions for the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and the Vienna State Opera, was joined by stage designer Michael Levine and costume designer Petra Reinhardt.
Prior to this release, the Berliner Philharmoniker produced three studio recordings of The Magic Flute with conductors Sir Thomas Beecham in 1937/38, Karl Böhm in 1964, and Herbert von Karajan in 1980.
The DVD and Blu-ray editions include extensive booklets with introductory texts, biographies, and high-quality photos. Audiovisual bonus materials include introductions to the work by both Sir Simon and Mr. Carsen, and a behind-the-scenes video of the Berliner Philharmoniker rehearsals and performances at the 2013 Easter Festival in Baden-Baden. The discs are priced at approximately $34 USD (€24.90 EUR) for the DVD edition and approximately $40 USD (€29.90 EUR) for the Blu-ray edition (not including shipping). Orders are now being accepted, with delivery starting on Monday, September 23, 2013.
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The Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle Conductor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
Pavol Breslik tenor (Tamino)
Ana Durlovski soprano (The Queen of Night)
Kate Royal soprano (Pamina)
Dimitry Ivashchenko bass baritone (Sarastro)
Michael Nagy baritone (Papageno)
Regula Mühlemann soprano (Papagena)
James Elliott tenor (Monostatos)
Annick Massis soprano (First Lady)
Magdalena Kožená mezzo-soprano (Second Lady)
Nathalie Stutzmann contralto (Third Lady)
Andreas Schager tenor (First Armoured Man)
David Jerusalem bass baritone (Second Armoured Man)
Benjamin Hulett tenor (First Priest)
Jonathan Lemalu bass (Second Priest)
David Rother* boy soprano (First Boy)
Cedric Schmitt* boy soprano (Second Boy)
Joshua Augustin* boy soprano (Third Boy)
José van Dam baritone (Speaker)
*Soloists of the Aurelius Sängerknaben Calw
Simon Halsey Chorus Master
Robert Carsen Director
Michael Levine Sets
Petra Reinhardt Costumes
Robert Carsen, Peter van Praet Lighting
Martin Eidenberger Video
Ian Burton Dramaturg
Playing time: 163 mins (performance), 43 mins (bonus)
Bonus material: Introductions by Sir Simon Rattle and Robert Carsen • Documentary: Behind the scenes