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Turandot (2010)

| Music | TV Movie 2010
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Credited cast:
Gianluca Bocchino ...
Pong
Carlo Bosi ...
Emperor Altoum
Luiz-Octavio Faria ...
Timur
Saverio Fiore ...
Pang
Maria Guleghina ...
Princess Turandot
Tamar Iveri ...
Liù
Angel Harkatz Kaufman ...
Prince of Persia
Salvatore Licitra ...
Prince Calaf
Leonardo López Linares ...
Ping
Giuliano Pelizon ...
Un Mandarino
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2010 (Italy)  »

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Big in visual spectacle, high in musical intensity and generally solid in overall performances- a very good if not definitive Turandot.
2 September 2012 | by See all my reviews

Turandot is a wonderful opera, and one I have great fondness for as it was the first opera I ever sang in(in the chorus that is). Whether it is my favourite Puccini opera I am not sure, I'd say I prefer Tosca and La Boheme, but if not quite top 3 Puccini it is definitely top 5. This is a very good production, not definitive or perfect, though I don't think it was trying to be, but definitely not one I'd immediately disregard. Do I recommend other productions of Turandot over it? I do prefer the Marton/Domingo, Marton/Carreras, Guleghina/Giordani, Dimitrova/Martinucci and Corelli productions. It is at least better than the Schnaut/Botha performance, which did have its interest points(such as an alternate ending by Berio, though for me inferior to Alfano's) but heavily flawed at the same time.

This production from Verona does look exquisite as you'd expect from Franco Zeffirelli. The costumes are colourful and suitably oriental and the sets are highly elaborate and just as eye-catching. Just as impressive is the visual spectacle which gives the right amount of intensity where it is needed but also gives us aspects of everyday Chinese life and culture. The video directing and picture quality are excellent. Musically it is wonderful as well. The orchestral playing is powerful and lyrical in their appropriate moments, such as in the first chorus of Act 1 and Liu's death scene, as well as spine-chilling in the three riddles scene. The conducting shows an energetic reading that does nothing in undermining the drama in any way. The chorus, who have a lot to do, are hair-raising in Act 1 and are just as passionate in the other two acts.

The singing is generally solid. Nobody is definitive in the roles, but considering the strong competition on DVD and on record that is a tall order. Maria Guleghina does have moments of shrillness in her upper register in the three riddles scene, but does have the power and force needed for the role. Dramatically she is icy and compelling. The late Salvatore Licitra is a good, if not great, Calaf. He does have a strong voice, and has most of the notes, but there are a few moments of strain(the encore of Nessun Dorma is better than the first time he sings in, personally I felt his singing was stronger in Non Piangere Liu). He is more motivated than I remember him being though, which is a good thing. Tamar Ivéri sings Liu beautifully if not always passionately and is affecting in Act 3. Luiz Faria's Timur is noble and moving, and Ping, Pong and Pang steal their scenes.

The sound is reasonably good for an open-space production. Occasionally it does have a somewhat discreet quality, but compared to the tinny quality I've heard before it was good enough for me. Overall, visually stunning and thrilling on the whole, if not one of my favourites. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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