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Puccini’s Turandot was filmed at the NCPA in Beijing in 2013 and offers unrivalled spectacle. In fact director Chen Xinyi’s production plays the opera as straight as I’ve ever seen it and the fairy story element works very well. She makes full use of the stage’s hydraulics to impressive effect, and Mo Xiaomin’s costumes are unbelievably lavish: they must have cost the equivalent of a small country’s GDP.

The serried chorus generally stands and sings, but oh, what a stunning sound; and Daniel Oren leads a very assured and well-paced performance of the score. Sun Xiuwei sings Turandot and starts with assured phrasing which is soon pushed by the climaxes, which she tends to clip, but though her tone is not smooth she has the volume and acting ability to help redress the problem. Yao Hong’s soprano is strangely occluded but has all the stunning pianissmi that Puccini demands. Dai Yuqiang’s tenor is robust and exciting, but subtleties of style or acting seemingly don’t interest him, whereas Tian Haijiang makes more of Timur than most. The opera is completed by a new ending by Hao Weiya, based on Puccini’s sketches, which is interesting if at times bombastic.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Opera Now, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing