I remember these recordings being released, lavishly on the L'Oiseau-Lyre label with a walloping set of notes, libretto in four languages et al. Now after less than ten years, the 'Da Ponte' operas and this splendid recording have found themselves on Double Decca, surely good news for the hard up collector (who seems to be getting more hard up!) albeit we have obviously lost the libretto. Arnold Östman's view is direct, forthright and entertaining and the period instrument Drottingholm orchestra is indeed, second to none, especially in the spankingly-paced Overture. Kurt Streit's 'Tamino' is regular and straitlaced although he does unwind slightly towards the end of the First Act.
Barbara Bonney is a lovely Pamina whilst Sumi Jo's 'Queen of the Night' is also pretty exceptional, this is indeed luxury casting! Gilles Cachemaille is a sturdy 'Papageno' whilst the relatively minor role of Sarastro is well handled by Kristinn Sigmundsson. The recording includes all recitatives and is thoroughly complete.
If you don't have the full price version, you could do much worse then snap it up now. As I already said earlier, hard up collectors are treated to luxury at the set's price!
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech