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Bastien and Bastienne

The Magic Flute, Hamburg, 1971
In 1971 there was an acclaimed new production of Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) at the Hamburg Opera directed by Peter Ustinov; this was during that house's golden period under the artistic direction of Rolf Liebermann. The production was taken into a TV studio and filmed, using the original sets and costume
Tamino : Nicolai Gedda
Pamina : Edith Mathis
Sarastro : Hans Sotin
Königin der Nacht : Cristina Deutekom
Papageno : William Workman
Papagena : Carol Malone
Monostatos : Franz Grundheber
Speaker : Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
2 Men in Armour : Helmut Melchert, Kurt Moll
State Opera, conducted by Horst Stein.

Don Giovanni, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Salzburg, 1954

Don Giovanni

1954, Salzburg Festival

(Cesare Siepi, Otto Edelmann, Elisabeth Grümmer, Anton Dermota, Lisa della Casa, Erna Berger, Walter Berry, Deszö Ernster; Wiener Staatsopernchor; Wiener Philharmoniker, cond. Wilhelm Furtwängler)

(dir. Herbert Graf; film dir. Paul Czinner)


This Don Giovanni was filmed in Salzburg’s open-air Felsenreitschule theatre as part of director Paul Czinner’s movement to preserve renowned theatre performances for posterity. Performed on an elegant unit set (convincing as either a town square or a courtyard) with Herbert Graf’s intelligent staging and a cast of vintage Viennese gold, in mono sound, this production is a quintessential Giovanni of its time and place. The costumes are traditional 1600s garb, German accents abound with constant ‘qvi’s and ‘qva’s instead of ‘qui’s and ‘qua’s, the acting is very broad, and characterizations are traditional and straightforward. Don Giovanni is a suave, cheerfully cruel swashbuckler, while Leporello is the Sancho Panza-like comic relief. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio are the noble, tender principle couple (no doubt is cast on either their love or their virtue), while Zerlina and Masetto are the bickering yet cute comic couple. Donna Elvira is purely tragic. The Commendatore’s statue is played by the singer in white armor and makeup (no quirky alternative here), and the Don is dragged to Hell the old-fashioned way, by a horde of demons amid fire and smoke. More can certainly be done with both the characters and the staging of this opera, but this old-fashioned Giovanni still offers plenty of pleasure. More on

Le Nozze di Figaro - Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino - Zubin Metha

Il Conte d’Almaviva: Lucio Gallo
La Contessa d’Almaviva: Eteri Gvazava
Figaro: Giorgio Surian
Susanna :Patrizia Ciofi
Cherubino: Marina Comparato
Marcellina: Giovanna Donadini
Don Bartolo: Eduardo Chama
Don Basilio: Sergio Bertocchi
Barbarina: Eleonora Contucci
Antonio: Gianluca Ricci
Don Curzio: Carlo Bosi
Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Direttore: Zubin Metha