Opera Review: Turandot

14 Jul

PLOT: Andrei Serban’s now-classic Covent Garden production of Puccini’s final opera, Turandot, is a glorious pageant of colour and action, combining elements of ritual theatre and symbolism to portray a world of Oriental fantasy. At its centre is the neurotic Chinese princess of the title, who imposes cryptic riddles on her potential suitors, only to slaughter them when they fail to answer. Calaf, the foreign prince, is determined to thaw and conquer her heart, famously declaiming that he will win.

The first of two alternating casts begins with the strong combination of Georgina Lukács (Turandot), Elena Kelessidi (Liù), Ben Heppner (Calaf) and Robert Lloyd (Timur), while Sally Jacobs’ designs provide the large chorus, actors, dancers and acrobats with a suitable ceremonial setting.

The sound world Puccini created to evoke this Chinese fairytale includes such well-known arias as ‘Signore, ascolta’, ‘In questa reggia’ and ‘Nessun dorma’, and is filled throughout with a sense of the erotic and sinister. -Courtesy of the Royal Opera House

July 14, 2006. The day has finally come for my most-awaited opera experience at the Royal Opera House nonetheless. Sure, this is not my first time at the opera as I have previously seen another Puccini in “Tosca”, but this IS the ROH, where opera breathes and lives this side of the globe. And it lived within me that night. We were seated at the balcony which gave us a great view of the stage and within view of the subtitles which we will need to put it all together. I did my homework by listening to the score the previous days and I am glad I did as listening to it live made it even more mesmerisingly beautiful.

I will always remember this night. The sights and sounds of Covent Garden on a Friday. The cool breeze in a summer evening. The promise of a new love. As the Prince in the opera tries to convince Turandot to love him, at first she is disgusted, but after he kisses her, she feels herself turning towards passion. When Calaf kissed Turandot, and whatever it was that she felt, to give in to that love, lived and stayed with me that night.

One more time with feelings…

Nessun Dorma

Il Principe:
Nessun dorma!… Nessun dorma!…
Tu pure, o Principessa,
nella tua fredda stanza
guardi le stelle che tremano
d’amore e di speranza!
Ma il mio mistero
è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò,
quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scoglierà
il silenzio che ti fa mia!
Dilegua, o notte! tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle! All’alba vincerò!
Vincerò! Vincerò!

Turandot: 5/5

3 Responses to “Opera Review: Turandot”

  1. Pedro July 30, 2006 at 2:07 am #

    I don´t envy those who are sitting in their expensive seats.

    At least, not always…

  2. Monette July 30, 2006 at 11:28 am #

    Believe me, those were the best seats in the house for me, I wanted to go back to the box office and give them more money! LOLOLOL–>


  1. Tamer Hosny - November 3, 2006

    tosca opera

    Interesting post. I came across this blog by accident, but it was a good accident. I have now bookmarked your blog for future use. Best wishes. Tamer Hosny.

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