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By Borghi, Christoyannis, Concert Spirituel, Droy, Fasolis, Flemish Radio Choir, Labonnette, Mechain, Pokupic, Poul, Santon-Jeffery, Teitgen, Vidal, and Lenormand. By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). Classical. 2 CDs. Glossa Music #GCD 921630. Published by Glossa Music (NX.GCD-921630).
Item Number: NX.GCD-921630
Long before the advent of surtitles in the opera house, success across Europe of new dramatic works depended on their plots being understood by local audiences. Such was the case for the German singspiel that is Mozart's Die Zauberflote, and when it was introduced to in Paris in 1801 it was adapted and re-titled Les Mysteres d'Isis: this is the opera which Le Concert Spirituel and the Flemish Radio Choir have recorded for this new release on Glossa (Diego Fasolis conducting the ensembles in place of the then indisposed Herve Niquet).
Little of Mozart's operatic music had established itself at that time in Paris and any production for the Opera needed to include recitatives, ballets, no theatre parle and to be performable by the standing company. Hence, arranger Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith and librettist Etienne Morel de Chedeville set to the task of adapting The Magic Flute. What Morel came up with respects the general outlines of Schickaneder's libretto, although most of the characters are renamed. Musically-speaking, this is a pasticcio: whilst much of the original music was retained there are interpolations from others of Mozart's operas.
In the booklet, Alexandre Dratwicki and Etienne Jardin take us through the genesis and success of Les Mysteres d'Isis. That this opera proved to be such a success in Paris is in part due to the Egyptomania then sweeping through the country; what remains today is the glory of Mozart's music as presented to Parisian audiences in Napoleonic France.