• February 21, 2009 /  Stuff

    Back in 1968, the porcelain maker Rosenthal introduced their “Zauberflöte” collections. There were full place settings, tea and coffee services and additional pieces. They came in numerous variations including plain white, “Platin” in white with dark gray accents, and “Sarastro” with lots of gold.
    Rosenthal Zauberflöte Broshure
    I first heard of these pieces from a friend whose mom gave her a tea service, in “Platin”,  a number of years ago. She brought it out once when we were visiting. Really cool stuff. Definitely over the top but cool.
    I went looking for some more info about the pieces and ended up with quite a number of links to eBay. So, to add to my growing collection of Magic Flute stuff, I bought a small vase, pictured here.
    Rosenthal vase
    Rosenthal vase inscription
    The inscription on the base is a line from the opera. It reads: “1.Aüfzüg, 1.Aüftritt: Die drei Damen: Würd ich mein Herz der Liebe weihn, so müßt es dieser Jüngling sein!” (1.Act, 1.Scene: The three ladies: Would I give my heart to love, it must be for this young man!). The signature is of the designer, Bjørn Wiinblad.

  • February 21, 2009 /  Performances

    I have in my collection of Die Zauberflöte recordings a number of older (and some newer) vinyl. Of course the sound quality of a record can’t compare with a contemporary digital recording but they can contain absolute gems of performance.
    Here is an example. This clip is of Peter Roth-Ehrang singing Sarastro in a 1958 recording made at the Staatsoper Hamburg. (The picture is not of Peter Roth-Ehrang but of a costume study by Heinrich Stürmer for the 1816 Berlin Hofoper production.)

    Sarastro is a tough role and this is an exceptional performance in my opinion.
    I haven’t found much about Hr. Roth-Ehrang. He seems to have been fairly active in the fifties and I did find one reference to a role in the German film “Schwarzer Peter” in 1966. Anybody know more?

  • February 21, 2009 /  Performances

    Probably my favorite piece of music from the opera is the duet “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” sung by Pamina and Papageno in the first act. So, it seems fitting that the first entry here should be one of my favorite performances of this duet. This is from a performance recorded at the Opernhaus Zürich in 2000. The singers are Malin Hartelius and Anton Scharinger. (Both of these brilliant singers will appear here again, so stay tuned.)

    Review of the recording:
    This clip is from a TDK DVD, no. DV-OPMF. I highly recommend this recording! (Just do a Net search for it to get the cast and crew details.) The performance is great. For me, a Zauberflöte performance depends on Papageno, Pamina, Sarastro and the Queen in roughly that order. (I have almost given up on ever getting a convincing Tamino. Maybe because the character is just such a wimp. OK, there are some good Taminos out there. I will sample a few in later posts. Maybe.) In this performance, directed by Jonathan Miller, all four are outstanding. And the production quality of the DVD is also very good with PCM stereo, AC3 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio tracks. A first class recording of a first class performance.