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<<  -- 4 --  Roderic Dunnett    VISIONS OF THE SUBLIME

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Amongst the notable successes were Richard van Allan, that Covent Garden stalwart of stalwarts, whose restrained, wise Second Priest, increasingly present to steer Will Hartmann's now gorgeously voiced Tamino, strong in recitative (American Paul Groves, even more seasoned in the role, a lyric-cum-dramatic tenor in the very front rank whose roles include a superb Tebaldo on Warner's Jennifer Larmore version of I Capuleti e I Montecchi, now takes over), brought a presence, and above all a mystique -- that sense of a Wiese (initiated Philosopher or All-wise, initiated one) -- which Franz-Josef Selig, who sometimes looked as if he'd bought his way to the status, never quite managed as Sarastro.

Mystic music : Tamino (Will Hartmann) and Pamina (Dorothea Röschmann) in the Royal Opera's Magic Flute. Photo © 2003 Catherine Ashmore/Performing Arts Library
Mystic music : Tamino (Will Hartmann) and Pamina (Dorothea Röschmann) in the Royal Opera's Magic Flute. Photo © 2003 Catherine Ashmore/Performing Arts Library

Van Allan is perfect : like an ancient mystagogus, a semi-shrouded Danteesque figure who gently nurses the aspiring initiate through his tribulatory trials (or Prüfung), he above all manages to sum up what this opera is about. The capable Speaker of the Temple (Vilar Young Artist Darren Jeffery, taking over from Sir Thomas Allen) will be sung in June 2003 by Norwegian baritone Terje Stensvold, a newcomer to the Royal Opera but already seen as Scarpia in Glasgow.

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Copyright © 14 June 2003 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

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