This is very much a filmed record of a stage production, so we don't experience the cinematic freedom of the Queen of the Night singing while riding atop a tank by moonlight or smoking beneath the No Smoking sign during intermission as we do in the Branagh and Bergman films.
But it is an excellent stage performance, with sets that draw the link between Sarastro's temple and the Enlightenment with robed savants, books, blackboards, an astronomical globe and an homage to Joseph Wright's A Philosopher Lecturing on the Orrery. Scenes of magic make apt use of masks and puppetry. And Diana Damrau was a wonderful Queen of the Night, her naturally sweet face made frightening by artful makeup and a Eddie Munster widow's peak. Her voice and acting in the role were splendid. When she winds up one of the queen's Teutonic rants I start worrying that she's about to invade Czechoslovakia.
The mallard decorations on Papageno's sweater were a nice touch, as was his duck hat.