Another Queen of Night

I post this because whenever I recommend to anyone the Queen of Night, I always recommend it in the Lucia Popp rendition.  It's a matter of personal taste, but what I love about this is that it is somewhat slower than the other versions and as a result, it would seem to me somewhat more difficult to perform and sustain--those high notes in which the Queen's voice becomes the Magic Flute itself are rounded, full, and deep while remaining light and airy. I have read some rather severe criticism of this ritardando; and while it may or may not reflect Mozart's intent, it is certainly within the options for staging.  It creates a real vocal showpiece from what is already a magnificent example of same. It really is an amazing example of a virtuoso composition sung by a virtuoso voice.  All of which should not be taken to mean that I do not truly appreciate the version posted earlier by Diana Damrau, it's just nice to see what a difference tempo can make.

I think we can take a lesson from Carl Honor√©'s In Praise of Slowness, in which he intimates that even our leisure today is rushed.  This is reflected in the fact that most musicians tend to play music much faster than was probably intended by the original composer.  Of course we can't ask, so this must remain speculative; however, I do know that I enjoy this more leisurely paced version of the aria.


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