The DVD version of Turandot is based on an outstanding MET production from 1988: “A straightforward, spectacular and star-cast staging by Franco Zeffirelli that comes over extremely well. At the heart of it is James Levine’s massive, stormy reading. The Met orchestra are in tremendous form; so is the chorus. Eva Marton sings with stinging power and passion; Plácido Domingo is a superb Calaf, Leona Mitchell is a silvery-voiced Liu. It is superbly directed and recorded…A clear first choice.” (The Classical Video Guide)
This production of one of Puccini's best loved works from the magnificent Roman amphitheater in Verona features the outstanding performances of Eva Marton in the title role, with Ingvar Wixell as a superbly wicked Scarpia and Giacomo Aragall as the ill-fated Cavaradossi…
…It's like a production I would expect to see at the ENO in London. Where they short of money that season, or did someone just want to get a kick out of watching perfomers attempt to navigate the set without falling over!! Eva Marton is totally mis-cast as Leonora; it grieves me to say this because I adore her and have screamed myself hoarse at her perfomances of Turandot, Tosca and Elektra at Covent Garden - but here, oh dear… By N. Gallimore
This is an excellent production of Turandot from Valencia, Spain and stands second to the 1988 Met version with Marton, Domingo, and Mitchell which is my all time favorite! Maria acts and sings the title role beautifully along with Berti who pretty much just stands and sings but has a pleasing voice. The singer that portrays Liu is fine but not up to Mitchell's version at the Met. The sets and costumes are terrific. However, to me, the best was the chorus and orchestra, led by one of my favorite conductors, Zubin Mehta. Truly outstanding beautiful sound! If you love this opera you really must have this DVD as it may be awhile before the Met issues this season's production on DVD. I recommend it as a beautifully performed Turandot!
Franco Zeffirelli’s magnificent staging of Puccini's final opera, captured here in High Definition Widescreen, is one of the most opulent of all Met productions. A fairy-tale set in a mythical China, the opera tells of the icy Princess Turandot, whose fatal riddles test princes who seek her hand in marriage. Maria Guleghina takes the demanding title role and Marcello Giordani is Calàf, the unknown prince. Young Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya and veteran American bass-baritone Samuel Ramey co-star. Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons makes his Met debut conducting Puccini's great score which includes the best-loved of all tenor arias - Nessun dorma.
The German stage director Jürgen Flimm – and his design team of Robert Israel and Florence von Gerkan – have set the opera in the second half of the 20th century and have costumed the action decidedly on the American side of the Atlantic Ocean. Such an approach follows the line of Flimm’s other contemporary opera successes – for example his current Bayreuth Ring (premiered in 2000) or his 2001 Otello at the Berlin Staatsoper. Modernising the period does not become updating for its own sake. Rather, the actions and behaviour of the characters cunningly align contemporary manners with the existing prescriptions of a “period” libretto.