Magazine article Gramophone

Puccini: Turandot

Magazine article Gramophone

Puccini: Turandot

Article excerpt

Puccini                    [DVD-V] [Br] Turandot Lise Lindstrom sop             Turandot Marco Berti ten                   Calaf Eri Nakamura sop                    Liu Dionysios Sourbis bar              Ping David Butt Philip ten              Pang Doug Jones ten                     Pong Raymond Aceto bass                Timur Alasdair Elliott ten     Emperor Altoum Michel de Souza bar            Mandarin 

Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden / Henrik Nanasi

Stage director Andrei Serban

Video director Ian Russell

Opus Arte [F] [DVD-V] OA1132D; [F] [Br] OABD7142D (125' +12' * NTSC * 16:9 * 1080p * DTS-HD MA5.1, DTS5.1 & LPCM stereo * 0 * S/s)

Recorded live, September 2013

Bonus material includes artist interviews

Long one of my favourite productions of anything, the Andrei Serban Turandot arrives on video, some 30 years after I saw its out-of-London tryout at the Olympics Arts Festival in Los Angeles, in a state of near defeat. Serban struck a healthy blow against the ultra-ornate Zeffirellian approach with a look that's often as dark as the heart of the opera's Chinese fairy-tale princess who beheads her suitors. With the chorus lined up along the rear of a primitive-looking multi-tiered set, the stage is effectively cleared for cleaner story-telling, using well-selected Chinese theatre techniques to convey not some fabulous royal court of one's imagination but a provincial society dominated by a sorceress of sorts who maintains inhumane rule through some strange, unexplained power.

At least that's how it came off with Gwyneth Jones and Placido Domingo, both accomplished actors as well as singers, who originally played the main roles and gave a special charge to the Act 2 riddle scene. There, Calaf s struggle isn't just answering the riddle but freeing himself from Turandot's psychological stranglehold that keeps him from knowing his own mind. …

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