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Posted October 1, 2010
I saw this for the first time when I was three. I really liked it. I saw it again several years later but did not find it quite as impressive. I really annoyed when I found out that it was in Swedish. Several delightful scenes were left out. The only really good voice is the Queen of Night. It is not worth your money but if you're a big fan of Igmar bergman,you'll probably still want this in your video library.
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Posted October 1, 2010
Having heard this film extolled, I was really disappointed. I will grant that Bergman gets some of the individual scenes exactly right, such as the ''Pa-pa-pa'' scene when Papageno discovers that Papagena is really an attractive young woman and not an old hag. But there deadly flaws in his conception of this work, where his staging contradicts the music and text. For example, when Papageno first comes upon Monostatos and Pamina: as Mozart wrote this scene, both Monostatos and Papageno are frightened at the sight of one another. As Bergman stages it, only Papageno is frightened; Monostatos is very aggressive. How, then, is the audience to understand why BOTH Monostatos and Papageno run away, and why it is Papageno who recovers from his fright and returns? The characterization of Sarastro is another serious problem: Mozart's music portrays a serene and confident man, but throughout the film, Bergman's visual portrayal is of a tormented and frightened one. This is a fatal misinterpretation. Also, I can't understand how Bergman dared to change the order of scenes and to cut so much of the dialog. Does he imagine that he knows better than Mozart how the music and drama should progress? Perhaps he would like to change the order of the movements in Mozart's symphonies! In any event, the musical performance is mediocre. The conducting and playing display nothing more than routine competence. Only two of the singers (Sarastro and, especially, Papageno) are above the ordinary; the rest range from so-so to really bad. I suspect that Bergman's reputation as a genius film director may have colored some viewers' perceptions of this performance. The director of an opera needs to understand the music, and I don't think Bergman did.
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