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Die Zauberflote

Trollflötjen * Ingmar Bergman * 1975

TrollflötjenI accidentally ran into this production of the recently deceased Bergman. I didn’t know if this would be a film-version of the “Die Zauberflöte” opera of Mozart or just like the Windgassen version that I reviewed before, a registration of the performance of the opera. Well, it is a bit of both. It seems that the opera was performed and that Bergman filmed it with and without audience. The latter is obvious, because he used lengthy facial close-ups in his montage, the first almost has to be, because there must have been cameras all over the stage. What you see is the opera, but with close-ups, different stages, etc. and it looks less than just a filmed opera of the Windgassen version. I don’t know if Bergman actually directed the opera AND the film, but the box suggests as much. The opera is translated to Swedish, but since it is available on DVD, you can just turn on subtitles. I would have preferred the original, German language, but the language is hardly an issue. The acting and stages are good, but Bergman has made some changes to the story. Small changes such as the way Papageno meets Papagena, but bigger changes such as the replacement of Isis and Osiris (whose mysteries are taught in the temple of Zarastro) by the supreme high God. Also it seems that Bergman has missed the Masonry in the story, leaving aside an enormous source for possible symbolism. In total this is another nice version of “Die Zauberflöte” and the first one that I get on DVD. I still prefer the first (of three) that I saw so far, so I hope to run into that Windgassen version some day too.

Die Zauberflöte * Peter Windgassen * 1983

250 Years ago, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born, so 2006 is pronounced Mozart year. On several locations, the film recording of “Die Zauberflöte” (the magic flute) opera performed by the Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper directed by August Everding is shown. I had never seen an opera, neither real nor filmed. I really wanted to see this “alchemical opera” some time and this was a good opportunity. Well, it sure was a great experience! The stages of the 1983 performance are grandiose and the fact that the opera is filmed, leaves out many pauses and an up-close view, but since this film was shown on the big screen, the experience is certainly better than at home on TV. I have the “Die Zauberflöte” highlights on cd, but seeing the play as it should have been, makes the music a lot better. There isn’t too much alchemy in the play, but a lot of Freemasonry (also see my review of the book Die Zauberflöte, an alchemical allegory elsewhere). The story beautifully gives the path of initiation with obvious references to Freemasonry (Mozart was a Mason), but then placed in the Isis-mysteries. The play and the story are moving, beautiful, extremely symbolic and I loved watching the three hours. Be sure to take the chance to see it if you get it. I noticed that the film is also available on VHS and there are undoubtely more Magic Flutes on DVD, but I don’t know if they are as great as this one.