Die Zauberflöte, K. 620, Act 1 Scene 15: No. 8, Finale, "Zum Ziele führt dich diese Bahn" (Drei Knaben, Tamino, Erste Stimme, Zweite Stimme, Sprecher, Die Priester)
Championed early in his career by composer Gustav Mahler, the conductor Otto Klemperer was an artistic visionary whose performances were renowned for their musical insight. The Jewish conductor left his native Germany in 1933 after the Nazis came to power, emigrating to Los Angeles only to later fall foul of the FBI for his left-wing views during the McCarthy era. Moving to Europe, he became the first principal conductor of London’s Philharmonia in 1959. This 1964 recording of Mozart’s fantastical Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), arguably the composer’s greatest achievement, is an all-time classic. The vintage cast is virtually unbeatable, with Christa Ludwig, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Nicolai Gedda and many more starry names joining Lucia Popp’s extraordinary Queen of the Night, whose performance of the stratospheric aria “Der Hölle Rache” remains one of the finest ever recorded.