Great Performances (1971– )
5 user 2 critic

Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing 





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
Yuanyuan Liu ...
Executioner (as Liu Yuanyuan)
Zubin Mehta ...
Himself - Conductor


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Plot Keywords:

opera | See All (1) »


Biography | Drama | Music






Release Date:

9 June 1999 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Calaf may have been based on the singer Tansen, who commanded such a high price for performing that only the Sultan of India himself could hire him. See more »


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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