[Met Performance] CID:208210
Turandot {76} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/15/1966.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 15, 1966


TURANDOT {76}

Turandot................Birgit Nilsson
CalÓf...................Franco Corelli
Li¨.....................Anna Moffo
Timur...................Bonaldo Giaiotti
Ping....................Theodor Uppman
Pang....................Robert Nagy
Pong....................Charles Anthony
Emperor Altoum..........Mariano Caruso
Mandarin................Robert Goodloe
Prince of Persia........David Milnes
Servant.................Lawrence Eddington
Servant.................Craig Crosson
Servant.................Harry Jones
Executioner.............Howard Sayette
Executioner.............Donald Mahler
Executioner.............William Burdick

Conductor...............Zubin Mehta

Review of John Chagy of the Jewish Press

"Turandot" Outstanding Spectacle

The sumptuous, colorful production of Pucnini's last great opera "Turandot" was especially appropriate at the new, resplendent Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.

The clean lines of the fašade with Marc Chagall's joyous paintings behind the tall windows, the red carpeted lobby, its delicate curved walls and balustrades, and the golden splendor of the interior with the rising contoured arch of tiers leading the eyes to the aristocratic delicacy of the glowing chandelier, seemed to me a perfect home for the "Turandot," as a spectacle. As a treat for the ear, the sound was equally impressive.

Unlike the sad experience of Philharmonic Hall, critics and audiences praised the new opera house's acoustics without reservation. Every delicate note of the instrument or voice was clearly heard and the rich sonorities of the full orchestra and ensembles filled every corner of the house.

Nilsson Outstanding

Birgit Nilsson was magnificent as Turandot. Her portrayal of the icy princess who condemns royal suitors to the axe when they cannot solve her three riddles was thrilling it its power and vocal brilliance. The Swedish-born soprano has no peer today in this role.

Franco Corelli, as Calaf, the last but successful suitor, sings with ardor and command. His tenor voice reaching with singing power the high notes of his arias. He seldom resorts to sobs to convey his emotions.

Anna Moffo replaced Mirella Freni at the last moment in the role of Liu the slave girl. Her experience in the early productions of the opera enabled her to present an appealing, poignant portrayal. Her superior acting ability added dramatic interest to the part and her tender lyric singing was in true Puccini tradition.

The servants, Ping, Pang and Pong, sung by Theodore Uppman, Robert Nagy and Charles Anthony, were presented with expert vocalizing and skillful cynical-comic acting.

The large chorus was admirably directed in scenes of movement and atmospheric tableau which were superior to any use of the crowds in previous operas by the composer. All the other members of the cast were equally effective, completing the flawless casting.

Zubin Mehta conducted with exemplary style and pacing of the tempos. Cecil Beaton's sets and costumes created the important aura of exotic Chinese color.

If this opera does not have the abundance of tunes and sympathetic characters of other Puccini works, it presents drama and pageantry and an orchestra palette that points to heights Puccini might have attained had he lived longer.

However, the aria for the Prince Calaf, "Nessum Dorma" in act three, is as memorable and stirring as any ever composed by Puccnini.



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