Great Performances: Season 27, Episode 16

Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing (9 Jun. 1999)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 96 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

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Title: Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing (09 Jun 1999)

Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing (09 Jun 1999) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Episode cast overview:
Giovanna Casolla ...
Sergej Larin ...
Calaf (as Sergeij Larin)
Barbara Frittoli ...
Carlo Colombara ...
José Fardilha ...
Francesco Piccoli ...
Carlo Allemano ...
Aldo Bottion ...
Vittorio Vitelli ...
Un Mandarino
Liu Yuanyuan ...
Zubin Mehta ...
Himself - Conductor


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opera | See All (1) »






Release Date:

9 June 1999 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Puccini died in 1924, while working on "Turandot"; he got as far as the scene in which a major character commits suicide to avoid cracking under torture, but Frederico Alfano completed it, and most critics feel that Puccini would have handled the awkward moment in the ending far better than Alfano did. One of those who believed this was conductor Arturo Toscanini, a friend of Puccini's, who led the work's world premiere in 1926. Immediately after the suicide scene, he laid down his baton and with tears in his eyes, spoke to the audience for the only time in his life: "Here Maestro Puccini laid down his pen. Death was stronger than art". Toscanini then left the orchestra pit. See more »


Referenced in The Turandot Project (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent performance, DVD could have been better
4 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I considered going to this performance until I saw the price tag. Seeing the DVD, I wonder if I would have enjoyed it in person. The audience looked uncomfortable, there were tourists taking flash photography during the performance, etc. The performance was great and the staging was superb. The ninja executioner was brilliant, especially for DVD audiences who may not fully appreciate the static elements of the staging. The DVD I am not so happy with. I have a San Francisco Opera's laserdisc performance that aired on PBS that is still a better experience than this DVD. Why no Dolby Digital? The PCM audio track is a joke. I also happen to own a Placido Domingo, London Philarmonic, CD performance of Turandot which sounds much better than this PCM track. For instance, the beginning of the second scene on the second act (after the Ping, Pang, Pong trio) when the imperial court assembles should sound thunderous and full of pomp - in the PCM track it is as flat as a radio broadcast. I still love Turandot, as you might have guessed. I think Zubin Metha is a living treasure. I also applaud the producers for the courage to bring this performance to the Forbidden City. Perhaps the next time I can afford to go in person.

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