Magazine article Gramophone

Puccini

Magazine article Gramophone

Puccini

Article excerpt

Puccini [DVD] [BR] [G]

Turandot

NinaStemme sop                            Turandot
Aleksandrs Antonenko ten                     Calaf
Maria Agresta sop                              Liu
Angelo Veccia bar                             Ping
Roberto Covatta ten                           Pang
Blagoj Nacoski ten                            Pong
Alexander Tsymbalyuk bass-bar                Timur
Carlo Bosi ten                      Emperor Altoum
Gianluca Breda toss                       Mandarin
Azer Rza-Zada ten                 Prince of Persia
Barbara Rita Lavarian sop        First Maidservant
Kjersti Odegaard mez            Second Maidservant

Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala, Milan / Riccardo Chailly Stage director Nikola us Lehnhoff Video director Patrizia Carmine Decca (F) [DVD] 074 3937DG; () [BR] 074 3938DH (136' * NTSC * 16:9 * 1080I * DTS-HD MA5.1, DTS5.1 & LPCM stereo * 0 * S/s) Recorded live, May 2015

This production from May 2015 must have been one of the first of Riccardo Chailly's tenure at La Scala. The stage director was Nikolaus Lehnhoff, well known for his Janacek productions at Glyndebourne; the excellent direction for TV by Patrizia Carmine includes effective shots from above the stage. This was the first time that Luciano Berio's completion of the opera (of which more anon) had been performed in Milan.

The set and costumes (Raimund Bauer and Andrea Schmidt-Futterer) are a feast for the eye. There is an enormous studded wall with an entrance and a balcony; in the wall, towering over the balcony, is a circular space in which the princess (and, later, her father Altoum) first appears. The costumes include a fearsome black creation for Turandot, festooned with layers of material resembling seaweed, and striped pantaloons for the masks Ping, Pang and Pong. Then there is Duane Schuler's lighting, which turns the set blood-red at appropriate moments.

The opera opens with the Mandarin, dressed as a ringmaster, announcing that the Prince of Persia, the latest of Turandot's suitors, has failed the obligatory test and will be beheaded at moonrise. Calaf is swiftly reunited with his father Timur, dark glasses signifying the latter's blindness. When Turandot confirms the execution, she does so with a curved staff, the symbol of her authority. In the next act, Calaf snatches it away on answering the riddles correctly, a telling moment. …

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