In his column in the New York Times, critic Anthony Tommasini wrote the following about the Festival Orchestra's 2013 New York performance: "I must say that the musical performance on its own terms was extraordinary. Over the last 30 years under Iván Fischer, the Budapest Festival Orchestra has become one of the most admired ensembles on the international scene, as was demonstrated on Sunday by this supple, glowing and transparent performance of Figaro.”
The newspaper went on to say that ...the Marriage of Figaro - just like Don Giovanni two years early - "was a highlight... of the opera season in New York.” The series of the three great Da Ponte operas - expanded to include Così fan tutté - had been preceded on the concert programme by The Magic Flute in the early nineties. In 2015, Iván Fischer and his orchestra will be playing Mozart's final dramatic work once again.
Relatively speaking, we know quite a bit about the the origins of The Magic Flute and the time of its première - and not just from anyone, from Mozart himself. In the autumn of 1791, he wrote a string of loving letters to his wife, Constanze, who was recuperating from illness in Baden. From one such letter, for example, we know how the composer played a prank on his Papageno, Emmanuel Schikaneder, who also happened to be the writer of the libretto and the director of the Theater auf der Wieden, where the première was taking place.
Another letter reveals the high praise awarded to the work by Antonio Salieri, whom Mozart had invited to one of the first performances with the charming Miss Cavalieri. At the time of the première on 30 September 1791, Mozart did not have much time left to live. He had no way of knowing that in the years to come, German theatres in their hundreds would be performing runs of his work.
A joint production of the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Palace of Arts
Presented by: Budapest Festival Orchestra, Palace of Arts
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