The Magic Flute
“At a time when even the most exquisitely crafted musical would have met resistance at the box office, Ingmar Bergman brought an opera to the screen. In this version of The Magic Flute, Bergman extends himself beyond a prosaic filming of the opera; rather than denying the highly mannered and theatrical nature of the performance, he flaunts and exalts it. The proscenium dissolves before Sven Nykvist's camera as it moves from beautifully timed close-ups of the singers, into the audience enthralled by the spectacle, and off-stage into the wings frenetic with activity.
“Primarily a celebration of love's power to triumph over the recesses of darkness and death, The Magic Flute also explores the mysticism stemming from the Masonic cult. Bergman has taken the liberty of altering some aspects of Mozart's fairytale as it was initially conceived; certain character relationships have been changed and the libretto has been transposed from the original German to Swedish. Nevertheless, Bergman successfully manages to release opera from the sometimes intimidating confines of highbrow entertainment, making it enjoyably accessible to veteran and novice alike.”