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Mozart: Die Zauberflote - William Christie, Les Arts Florissants (2 CDs)

Mozart: Die Zauberflote - William Christie, Les Arts Florissants (2 CDs)

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Rosa Mannion, Hans-Peter Blochwitz, Natalie Dessay, Anton Scharinger, Reinhard Hagen, Willard White

Les Arts Florissants Orchestra & Chorus, William Christie

"With a background primarily in the French Baroque, William Christie comes to Die Zauberflöte from an angle quite unlike anyone else's; yet this is as idiomatic and as deeply Mozartian a reading as any. In the booklet-note Christie remarks on the unforced singing that's one of his objectives, much more manageable with the gentler sound of period instruments. All this is borne out by the performance itself, which falls sweetly and lovingly on the ear.
Overall the performance is quick and light-textured – and often quite dramatic. Some may find Christie less responsive than many more traditional interpreters to the quicksilver changes in mood, yet this is a part of his essentially broad and gentle view of Die Zauberflöte.
His cast has few famous names, though there's Hans-Peter Blochwitz, probably the finest Tamino around these days. As Pamina, Rosa Mannion has much charm and a hint of girlish vivacity, but blossoms into maturity and passion in 'Ach, ich fühl's', whose final phrases, as the wind instruments fall away, leaving her alone and desolate, are very moving. Natalie Dessay's Queen of Night is forthright, clean and well tuned, with ample weight and tonal glitter.
The orchestral playing from Les Arts Florissants is polished, and the translucent sound is a joy. In short, Christie offers a very satisfying, acutely musical view of the work." --Gramophone

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