Beautiful production of an opera I am quite fond of
Puccini's last opera Turandot isn't my favourite of his, that's Tosca closely followed by La Boheme, but it is very special to me as it was the first opera I sang in four years ago. I prefer the 1987/8 production with Eva Marton and Placido Domingo, but this is still a beautiful production and still one of the better Turandots I've seen.
The only problem I had regarding this production was that sometimes the performers are out of sync particularly in the three riddles scene, and this is a lot to do with the ambiance and how far apart from the orchestra they are.
That aside, the costumes are gorgeous and very authentic and the sets are lavish. The video directing captures all this perfectly. The orchestra noise is like thunder in some scenes, the conducting is excellent and the chorus do a fine job particularly in the fiendishly difficult grind-and-sharpen chorus(I still remember that disaster of an opening night we had doing this chorus with the basses missing half of their entries).
The performances are very good. Nicola Martinucci is a convincing Calaf with a great voice and while believable I don't find him completely commanding. Ivor Vinco is a powerful and noble Timur, Cecilia Gasdia's Liu particularly in her suicide scene is very poignant and Ping, Pong and Pang steal every scene they're in. The best performance comes from Ghena Dimotrova in the title role, she is absolutely brilliant, being imperiously chilling dramatically and when it comes to the voice I have heard few contemporary soprano voices as big and as (quite) dark as hers.
Overall, beautiful. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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