|Three Ladies, Tamino, Papageno|
Courtesy Revolver Entertainment
What's that you say? How was the singing? I was quite pleased with all of it. From the lead couples all the way down to the minor roles, all the singing actors were quite accomplished. Who can fault René Pape as Sarastro and Joseph Kaiser as Tamino? Both are experienced in these and countless other roles, and a pleasure to hear and to look at! The Queen of the Night was Lyuba Petrova, veteran of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and current star in top-level houses around the world. I liked her manipulative desperation, and I especially liked how the melismatic tirade of the "Der Hölle Rache", the infamous second act aria with the high Fs, became more of a mad scene than we normally see. Papageno was Benjamin Jay Davis, who might have been the only American in the cast. Although he was charmingly goofy as Papageno the birdman--the one who used a canary to test the air after gas attacks--I can't say I was fond of his overuse of a Southern accent. But I've seen that accent used before when directors want to portray naiveté. Or stupidity. Amy Carson was a pleasing and beautiful Pamina. The Three
Spoilers: Bits I especially liked included having Sarastro himself as the Speaker, adding poignancy to his interview with Tamino. Both Monostatos and the Queen have touching moments when Sarastro offers the hand of peace and forgiveness, and one can almost see the internal deliberations as they realize they simply can not live in such a world, and choose not to. And who wouldn't adore veteran British character actress Liz Smith as old Papagena?
Lovers of Die Zauberflöte, hie thee (or ye) to see this movie. Whether you love it or not, you will certain see some new things in it, and hear a lot of perfectly beautiful singing.