Mozart: Die Zauberflöte - Kollo, Mathis, Gruberova, Prey, Meven, Van Dam, Grist; Karajan. Salzburg, 1974
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Herbert von Karajan treats us to a grand reading of Die Zauberflöte which may ruffle the feathers of some purists, but it gives the opera a larger than life scope fitting with the operas’ lofty ideals. In 1974 René Kollo still had enough lyricism in his voice to muster a respectable Tamino; the heroic timbre of his voice almost suggesting a proto-Parsifal. Edith Mathis is resplendent as Pamina, lending some Mozartian grace without being dwarfed by Kollo’s tenor. Hermann Prey delivers a gracefully bumbling Papageno and Peter Meven is a sonorous Sarastro. Edita Gruberova’s hair-raising Queen of the Night truly puts the “dramatic” in dramatic coloratura. As always with a Karajan production there are impressive cameos in the smaller roles including Reri Grist’s bubbly Papagena, José Van Dam’s show-stealing turn as the Speaker and a great trio of ladies featuring Jane Marsh, Trudeliese Schmidt and Sylvia Anderson. The sound is excellent.