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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Mozart: Die Zauberflöte
Host Keith Brown writes:
Over more than a quarter century of lyric theater broadcasting I have always delighted in presenting Mozart's "Masonic" fairy tale opera sometime during the holiday season. Works of operatic fantasy like this fit in so well with all the other entertainments that create the happy childhood memories of Christmastime.
Most of the recordings of The Magic Flute (1791) which I have drawn upon were historically informed and played on period instruments, with vocal soloists versed in eighteenth century singing practice.
Conductor John Eliot Gardiner was one of the leading figures in the rise of the "period" approach to baroque and classical music in the latter half of the twentieth century. Gardiner's recordings of Mozart's operas are now regarded as classics themselves in the "period" genre. They have been collected into an 18 CD boxed-set reissue through the Archiv division of Deutsche Grammophon.
Gardiner's Die Zauberflöte occupies the last two discs in the 2011 compilation. It was originally recorded in 1995 in connection with a music festival in Ludwigsburg, Germany. Gardiner directed the period instrumental group he founded, the English Baroque Soloists, along with the Monteverdi Choir. The cast for Mozart's Singspiel consisted of mostly native German-speaking singers.