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- 06/03 Budapest Orchestra Has Bows Seized
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This week I'll be presenting everyone’s favorite Mozart Singspiel, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) on the Opera House. It was premiered on September 30, 1791 in Vienna’s Theater auf der Wieden, which was operated by librettist Emanuel Schikaneder (the first Papageno). Mozart’s penultimate opera, it is a fairy tale work overlaid with Masonic and humanist symbolism.
Three Ladies (soprano Marie McLaughlin, mezzo-soprano Ann Murray, contralto Hanna Schwarz) save Prince Tamino (tenor Peter Schreier) from a monster and give him a portrait of Pamina (soprano Margaret Price), daughter of their mistress, the Queen of the Night (soprano Luciana Serra). Tamino falls in love with Pamina’s beautiful image, and the Queen charges him with rescuing her from the hands of the supposedly evil Sarastro (bass Kurt Moll), the high priest of Isis. She gives him an enchanted flute to aid him through perils, and sends the bird catcher Papageno (baritone Mikael Melbye) with him as a guide.
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On arrival at the Temple of Isis, Tamino is told by the Speaker (bass-baritone Theo Adam) that only truth and wisdom reside within, and Sarastro bids him enter and learn. Pamina, lusted after by Sarastro’s Moorish slave Monostatos (tenor Robert Tear), returns Tamino’s love, and the two agree to undergo tests to prove their virtue and constancy. Papageno is also tested and even though he makes a poor showing, is rewarded with Papagena (soprano Maria Venuti). With the aid of the magic flute, Tamino and Pamina pass through the ordeals of fire and water. Sarastro gives Tamino the symbols of rule, and all celebrate the triumph of light over the powers of darkness, represented by the defeated Queen of the Night.
Sir Colin Davis conducts the Dresden State Orchestra and the Leipzig Radio Chorus in this 1984 Philips recording.
From a 1991 Metropolitan Opera performance, Kurt Moll sings Sarastro's "In diesen Heil'gen Hallen" to Pamina (Kathleen Battle):
Next Thursday, September 4, I'll present a pair of Rossini one-actors: La Scala di Seta (The Silken Ladder) and Il Signor Bruschino. Singing principal roles in La Scala di Seta are Luciana Serra, William Matteuzzi, Oslavio di Credico, Natale de Carolis, Cecilia Bartoli, and Roberto Coviello. In Il Signor Bruschino we'll hear Frank Lopardo, Kathleen Battle, Samuel Ramey, Octavio Arévalo, Michele Pertusi, and Claudio Desderi.
The WCPE Opera House is heard every Thursday evening at 7 o’clock in the Eastern time zone on 89.7 FM in central North Carolina, and we’re streamed online at http://www.theclassicalstation.org.
— W. Robert Chapman, Host of the WCPE Opera House
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The Metropolitan Opera Announces the 2014-15 Season
The Met’s 2014-15 Season Will Feature 26 Operas, Including Three Met Premieres, In Six New Productions and 18 Revivals!
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