Turandot (2012)

  |  Musical


Turandot (2012) Poster

A princess avoiding marriage creates an obstructive 3-question riddle with a fatal penalty for failure. When a prince succeeds, her reaction, and the prince's response, cause senseless tragedy.



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5 July 2014 | TheLittleSongbird
9
| A really top-notch Turandot
Turandot is/was Puccini's last opera and along with Tosca, La Boheme and Madama Butterfly one of his best. And this Opera Australia production does nothing to change that, while not my personal first choice(1988 with Marton and Domingo) it is one of the better and most fresh Turandots available. There is next to nothing to say that is wrong, although Rosario La Spina's acting has a fair share of moments where it is rather wooden and with a lot at staring at the conductor. The costumes and sets with the symbolic colours and strong shapes are bursting with colour and detail, making for a visual feast and a beautiful one at that. The staging is very compelling, chilling in the first big chorus and the Three Riddles scene and very moving with Liu in Act 3. But what was also remarkable was how fresh everything felt without gratuitous modernising, the production is a very loyal one and what makes the opera so great is intact here. Ping, Pang and Pong even have a ballet sequence which was very entertaining and quite unique among other productions of Turandot. The production is slickly shot and the sound allows you to really enjoy and feel the music, sometimes the sound on Opera Australia DVD productions can lack in resonance due to the acoustic but that wasn't so much a problem here. The production is just as outstanding musically, with a truly first rate chorus, a huge(bigger than a lot of the principal roles) and crucial(like the overseers and commentators of the action) role in Turandot, who can do blood-curdling and tender brilliantly, as well as an orchestra that is more than up to the task, playing with powerful intensity and sympathetic pathos throughout. Andrea Licata's conducting has not one questionable tempo and he conducts with complete command of the music with a vast dynamic range and good phrasing. The cast are all very fine, with Hyeseoung Kwon as a heart-breakingly acted and exquisitely-sung Liu(I was a wreck after her death scene) deserving particular praise. But a big shout-out should go to Susan Foster in the punishing title role, she is imperiously chilling and totally in the zone dramatically while vocally she has no problem being heard and is quite fearless, her basic sound is more appealing than most too. Rosario La Spina does have some sublime interaction with Kwon so he isn't a complete dead-weight as an actor, and while he does take a little time to warm up he does sing very musically, confidently and mostly very well though with some unusual-sounding moments in the first act. His rendition of Nessun Dorma is superb though, and there are some great top notes throughout too. Jud Arthur's singing is very sonorous and very well-suited to the role and his Timur is authoritative and movingly characterised, his reactions to Liu's death are some of the most touchingly done of any production of Turandot on DVD. Ping, Pang and Pong are great fun and definite scene-stealers, their strong well-blended voices are easier on the ear than a lot in the roles. The Mandarin and the Emperor are good too. Overall, top-notch and very highly recommended. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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Did You Know?

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Musical

Details

Release Date:

24 November 2012

Language

Italian


Country of Origin

Australia

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