Sorry I can't help William Jenks with a recording recommendation. But his
post does inspire me to comment on an English language version of the Magic
Flute I heard on Saturday in Portsmouth, NH. The performance was by the
London Opera Comapany.
I have nothing in principle against English language performance I suppose.
And clearly many of the youngsters in the audience appreciated the English
dialogue especially to help them follow the action. My concern may haver
been a function of this particular production. Frankly, the translations
were well done; at least with regards to making the meter and the rhymes
work out. However, watching the opera in English (especially with the
British accents in the spoken parts) came close to reducing this marvelous
opera to a Gilbert and Sullivan operaetta.
Think about it: Papageno reminded me of the wandering minstrel, The Queen
of the Night could easily have been a G&S contralto part, Tamino is the
tenor hero, etc. etc. Finally in Act 2 the transcendent music moved it
beyond, but for a while I was really wondering.
I know I've asked this question before on other lists, but what exactly is
the magical quality that elevates great, moving music above the usual fare?
as the saying goes: From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a small
step." This performance really drove that point home to me.
Wishing Bill luck with his son and endorsing his idea of finding an English
version for a five year old, but hoping not to endure another one myself
for a while.