Turandot

 

Puccini Turandot opera to a libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. Directed 2012 by Graeme Murphy at the Melbourne Arts Centre. Stars Susan Foster, Rosario La Spina, Hyeseoung Kwon, Jud Arthur, Shane Lowrencev, Andrew Moran, Graeme Macfarlane, David Corcoran, and Benjamin Rasheed. Andrea Licata conducts the Orchestra Victoria, the Opera Australia Chorus, and the Opera Australia Children’s Chorus. Choreography by Graeme Murphy; set and costume designs by Kristian Fredrikson; lighting by John Drummond Montgomery; audio direction by Tony David Gray; TV direction by Cameron Kirkpatrick. Chris Yates was Production Executive; Sam Russell was Producer. Released 2013, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A

The L'OperaDou Jury watched this in March 2013, and gave it an "A" grade. Here are some (slightly edited) comments from Jury members:

“The choreography, chorus movements, and set design were superb. The music was stirring and delightful. The tenor sang beautifully, despite being a bit wooden—unlike Timus his father, who moved me to tears with his farewell.

“This was my first taste of Turandot and I very much enjoyed it, although I found the plot rather simple and predictable. The characters were good, the music powerful, and the voices wonderful.

“Great staging in terms of the number of singers and dancers, the costumes, and the interplay of flags and the choreography. I almost felt I was there, in China! The voices were beautiful, and I particularly enjoyed those of Turandot and Liu.

“Excellent production, and while the casting of the two main characters may not be ideal, their voices are more than a match for these challenging parts. Together with the spectacular staging and expert choreography, this has to be the best production of Turandot currently available on Blu-Ray."

This Opera Australia show is obviously a good title, because Gordon Smith and his Jury are not easy to please. Still, I do wonder if any of our current Turandot Blu-rays would in fact be clearly "the best." We are lucky to have two other versions that I graded A (both with Maria Guleghina singing Turandot). Probably the more famous of these two would be the old Met war-horse version designed by Zeffirelli. But I still like the less opulent Valencia version even better, because to me it conveys more emotional impact. Now comes our Opera Australia version, which, from what little I've seen so far, sports a more up-to-date design that maybe has been influenced by the ceremonial spectacles at the Olympic Games. So we probably have a Turandot in Blu-ray to suit almost anyone. And there is still room for others to try for an A+ recording of this popular opera.