Great Performances (1971– )
7.8/10
97
5 user 2 critic

Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing 

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
Giovanna Casolla ...
Sergej Larin ...
Calaf (as Sergeij Larin)
Barbara Frittoli ...
Liù
Carlo Colombara ...
Timur
José Fardilha ...
Ping
Francesco Piccoli ...
Pang
Carlo Allemano ...
Pong
Aldo Bottion ...
Vittorio Vitelli ...
Un Mandarino
Yuanyuan Liu ...
Executioner (as Liu Yuanyuan)
Zubin Mehta ...
Himself - Conductor
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opera | See All (1) »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

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Release Date:

9 June 1999 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Timur may have been based on Abdallah Es-Zaghal, Moorish king of Grenada, who sold his kingdom for $17,000,000, then was arrested by Benimeren, King of Fez, who blinded Abdallah and took his money. Abdullah was forced to live the life of an outcast, panhandling for money while wearing a sign that read, "This is the unfortunate king of Andalusia. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Turandot Project (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Fantastic Film
28 January 2006 | by (Sacramento, CA) – See all my reviews

OK, now take Puccini. Zhang Yimou. Zubin Mehta. Peking. China. Italy. A Florentine chorus in the the Forbidden City. Colors. And then, culture clashes. Add it all up and you wind up with something absolutely magical and memorable. Let me be straight from the beginning: I'm a big fan of Zhang Yimou and have been so ever since I saw Red Sorghum. I have been a fan of Mehta's ever since he showed up in the US after working with Von Karajan in Vienna. Too, I'm an opera buff who loves-- no, adores-- Puccini. And, I'm an anthropologist who loves movies.

The cultural overlays in this production are incredible. When I saw Turandot performed for the first time in Italy, it was fabulous. But, while the costumes and settings were imaginative, I knew they were not really representative of classical China. They were a mix of Japanese, Asian and Italian imagination but we were all able to let that attachment with reality go in the magic of Puccini's music. Not so, Zhang Yimou, a Chinese perfectionist whose artistic talent and tradition demands authenticity. As he tells his crew that not to do so would be a "joke" to Chinese Culture, he clearly inserts the importance of "saving face" to his colleagues. Mehta, the guy who put it all together, had more guts than a slaughterhouse to undertake this project. But, wow! What a project! What fantastic colors! What a show! Yes, the film's music is a bit weakened by the massive setting but the heart of the project is displayed without flaws.


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