Rene Jacobs: singer, conductor, scholar, archivist, alchemist, teacher. In recent years he's been "rehabilitating" the Mozart operas for the Harmonia Mundi label, eradicating 19th century retouchings and stylistic anomalies in order to restore these great works to their vibrant original colours. He and his handpicked performers have now arrived at Mozart's beloved "Singspiel" Die Zauberflote and the results are quite revelatory.

Jacobs talks to Edward Seckerson about his crusade on behalf of style, 18th century and otherwise, he talks about the hours of reading and researching, the endless detective work offering clues as to how this music might have sounded and why. He talks about the dangers of "performance tradition" and offers some thoughts as to why Mozart's librettist on Flute, Emanuel Schikaneder, has been so underrated and misunderstood. He also holds court on the latterday evolution of the countertenor with reference to both his own career and to another new release of Handel arias featuring the exquisite voice of Bejun Mehta.

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