In May of 1997, Zubin Mehta conducts and Zhang Yimou directs Puccini's "Turnadot" in Florence. A year later, they stage nine performances in Beijing. This documentary focuses on the China ... See full summary »
In May of 1997, Zubin Mehta conducts and Zhang Yimou directs Puccini's "Turnadot" in Florence. A year later, they stage nine performances in Beijing. This documentary focuses on the China production: a huge and elaborate set, hundreds of extras, three sets of principles, props and costumes matching the Ming Dynasty. Mehta, with his Indian roots and European training, revels in bringing disparate cultures together. Zhang wants the music to come through and anticipates the demands (and habits) of the Chinese audience. Rehearsals; production work; rain; talks with singers, crew, and local officials -- can it all come together? When the chorus is in full volume, no one sleeps. Written by
Turandot is not my favourite of Puccini's operas, but I have a big soft spot for it. The music is stunning and the whole opera is very moving. The Turandot Project is simply fascinating, I have nothing but admiration for those who put so much hard work into something so wonderful albeit challenging. On the documentary side of things, I loved the personalities of those involved and that I could spot four different languages at least. Puccini's music is his most orchestrally rich score and is just as wonderful as his other opera scores. The production right from the gorgeous colours and costumes, the dancers, the soldiers and hundreds of extras looks absolutely spectacular and enhanced by the clear picture quality, comprehensive camera work and sharp sound. Zubin Mehta does a fine job conducting the orchestra, who play with a beautiful and powerful sound indeed, with his tempos less erratic than they can be, and the performers are strong, often wonderful, with Christina Gollardo Domas' Liu(especially in her suicide scene) the most impressive.
All in all, fascinating, a must watch. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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