Recently, I have developed an obsession for Trollflöjten, Ingmar Bergman's version of Die Zauberflöte by Mozart. Back in the days of tape recorders, so in my teenage (I must have been 14 or 15), my parents had taped it. I had started watching it but got bored because I didn't like the fact that it was basically a stage presentation. I had seen the opera on stage before, that year or the year before, and in Vienna no less. So I was unimpressed by Bergman's take on it. Teenagers can be so shallow. And a bit stupid. Anyway, I was at the time, I am ashamed to admit. But at least I loved opera. I had wanted to revisit it, and only did recently. But then, when I did, a few weeks ago, I sure did watch it. And again. And again. As I said, it really got me obsessed.
It is not Bergman's most famous or more acclaimed movie, but it is an amazing interpretation of the opera and a true labour of love. It is also the only movie of the director I have watched so far. And I am not ashamed to say it, because how many, even among his admirers, really loved the magic flute? Beside, it only means that there is more to discover. I loved the way the story moves from a stage version to completely ignoring the stage and taking a life of its own... only to return to the stage, including intermissions and audiences. And of course you have the music. You can't go wrong with Mozart. I have decided to upload here the beginning of the first act, just for fun. Two absolutely trivial observations that yet struck me:
-It is in Swedish. As a teenager, I hadn't even noticed they have translated the libretto from German. I understand little German, but I could tell it was not the same language, having listened to the original libretto over and over again. Still, I know the story so well I have no problem to follow it.
-The cast is so darn good looking. Everybody is beautiful! Even Monostato has some kind of magnificent ugliness. When I saw the opera in Vienna, half the cast was borderline morbidly obese. During my only trip to Sweden, how beautiful the people there struck me and watching The Magic Flute reminded me of it.
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