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.
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…
Andrea Chénier is a verismo opera in four acts by the composer Umberto Giordano, set to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica. It is based loosely on the life of the French poet, André Chénier (1762-1794), who was executed during the French Revolution.
Andrea Chénier remains popular with audiences, though it is now less frequently performed than it was during the first half of the 20th Century. One reason that the opera has stayed in the repertoire is due to the magnificent lyric-dramatic music provided by Giordano for the tenor lead, which gives a talented singer many opportunities to demonstrate his histrionic skill and flaunt his voice. Indeed, Giuseppe Borgatti's triumph in the title part at the first performance immediately propelled him to the front rank of Italian opera singers. Borgatti went on to become Italy's greatest Wagnerian tenor rather than a verismo-opera specialist.
…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!
Turandot, Puccini's last opera, contains some of the most glorious music that he composed. And this performance does complete justice to the music. It is as close to a perfect performance that is possible. Dame Joan Sutherland, who never performed the role on stage, is as cold as ice as the man-hating princess until Calaf wins her heart. At that moment she transforms into a warm hearted lover.