Listening to Die Zauberflöte on radio, knowing it's the Julie Taymor production and hearing the riotous laughter in the audience - as you might imagine, it's a little frustrating. From articles I've read, and from Margaret Juntwait's introductions, I did sometimes have a vague idea of what was happening on stage to cause such hilarity, but obviously it's nothing like being there. Oh well. Never mind. At least it sounded fantastic.
Kurt Moll! I love Kurt Moll. He's the Sarastro on the Deutsche Grammophon video of Zauberflöte too, and I adore him. Low notes you can feel. And absolute security. No irritating wobbles for Herr Moll - you feel safe in his company. Perfect for Sarastro, of course. I'd trust him, no question. And all the rest were in fine form also. Matthew Polenzani made an excellent, attractive Tamino and Matthias Goerne an irresistible Papageno (though that's not hard) - and Rene Pape made me wish the Speaker was a much bigger role. Lucia Popp has naturally spoiled me for every single other Königin derNacht - but Erika Miklosa was respectable enough, negotiating the coloratura nicely if not spectacularly - although I did feel she sounded a little too cute and friendly. Lisa Milne, on the other hand, was a perfect Pamina, sweet and silvery. Just when I thought I'd heard 'Ach ich fühl's' too many times for it to get to me...along came Lisa to prove me wrong.
Maybe not seeing it doesn't matter so much after all; just hearing it made me very happy.
Meanwhile my efforts to get Don Giovanni under my skin are going very well indeed. I listened again the Solti this afternoon, in the three hours before Zauberflöte started. My opinion of it hasn't improved much, sadly. Actually I was even less impressed with Renée this time round. I did, on the other hand, feel slightly happier with Bryn: I'd still prefer a suaver Don, but it is inescapably a terribly beautiful voice. Rodney Gilfry, on the other hand, is ideal in the part. Having obviously not had enough yet, I'm watching him on this excellent DVD and he's just dangerous.