[Met Performance] CID:256670

Die Zauberflöte
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, March 1, 1979

Die Zauberflöte (229)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Emanuel Schikaneder
Leona Mitchell

Seth McCoy

Queen of the Night
May Sandoz

Harald Stamm

Christian Boesch

Alma Jean Smith

James Atherton

John Shirley-Quirk

First Lady
Patricia Craig

Second Lady
Shirley Love

Third Lady
Isola Jones

Robert Sapolsky

Carl Tramon

Scott Rigby

Paul Franke

Gene Boucher

John Carpenter

Philip Booth

John Pritchard

Review 1:

Review of Harriett Johnson in the Post

Metropolitan's 'Flute' retains its young magic

The Metropolitan Opera's "The Magic Flute" still dazzles by the riot of color and design in Marc Chagall's sets and costumes. Its return to the Met for the first time since 1976-77 season was February 17. Since then I've seen it a second time with even more pleasure than at the season's premiere when Leona Mitchell sang her first Pamina anywhere; and when Seth McCoy as Tamino, Christian Boesch as Papageno, May Sandoz as Queen of the Night and Harold Stamm as Sarastro made their Met debuts.

The reason the Chagall production has lost none of its flamboyant vitality is that the genius of his fantasy brilliantly expanded librettist Schikaneder's Wonder World. No adult can take the latter's symbolism too seriously so Chagall's visions, with their two-headed animals and other even more bewildering shapes, hypnotize us to the point where logic seems out of place. We succumb to Chagall's visual feast and Mozart's genius. With John Pritchard conducting the work for the first time at the Met, the performance breathed authenticity in style. Yet the prevailing animation was sparked more by the singers on stage than by the instrumental complement in the pit.

Miss Mitchell's full, sweet soprano suited Pamina perfectly, while her untrammeled purity of tone lent a mystical quality to the interpretation. As Papageno, Vienna-born Boesch, sprouted an irresistible sense of humor, even more amusing because of his Austrian dialect, he proved himself a prize singing actor. Whether he was stealing a kiss or disappearing down a manhole, he renewed his jolly energy simultaneously as he burned it up on stage.

Though McCoy's tenor isn't large, the quality is sweet and, as stylist, he is impeccable. He gave an appealing largesse and dignity to Tamino. Sandoz as Queen of the Night sang accurately the difficult, high tessitura of a most unsympathetic role and showed a well-produced coloratura. Stamm's bass missed something in the somber-richness needed for Sarastro, self-designated high priest of wisdom, at least, the flute's wisdom. Bodo Igesz was stage director for the Gunther Rennert production.

There are five more performances of Die Zauberflöte as sung in German, as the opera is billed. Cast changes for future performances include Dale Duesing as Papageno and Stuart Burrows as Tamino.

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