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The Independent Culture
Mozart's most problematic opera is either dismissed as pantomime nonsense or hailed as a profound philosophical study of love and virtue. Conductor John Eliot Gardiner concluded his seven-year cycle of performances and recordings with two semi-staged performances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, complete with the dance company Pilobolus and Romeo Gigli costumes.

The Times heaped praise on the singers and Stephen Medcalf's "stylised, symbolic and mysterious staging... a very magic Flute". None the less, two elements were missing from Gardiner's approach: "A degree of human warmth and vulgar theatricality, essential elements, surely, of any Zauberflote." Gardiner's critics would argue that these elements are missing from his work all too often.

The CDs are due to be released in the autumn of 1996.

A staging of rare and simple beauty. A fitting conclusion to Eliot Gardiner's acclaimed series distinguished by utterly distinctive orchestral playing and choral singing.