[Met Performance] CID:319210
Turandot {170} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/27/1995.

(Debuts: Daniel Kucan, Jason Kuschner
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 27, 1995


TURANDOT {170}
Puccini/Alfano-Adami/Simoni

Turandot................Gwyneth Jones
Calāf...................Lando Bartolini
Lių.....................Teresa Stratas
Timur...................Paul Plishka
Ping....................Zheng Zhou
Pang....................Tony Stevenson
Pong....................Philip Creech
Emperor Altoum..........Charles Anthony
Mandarin................Kevin Short
Maid....................Mary Meyers
Maid....................Annette Spann-Lewis
Prince of Persia........Daniel Kucan [Debut]
Executioner.............Jason Kuschner [Debut]
Three Masks: Marcus Bugler, Ricardo Costa, Joseph Fritz
Temptresses: Linda Gelinas, Suzanne Laurence, Deanne Lay, Rachel Schuette

Conductor...............Nello Santi

Production..............Franco Zeffirelli
Stage Director..........David Kneuss
Set designer............Franco Zeffirelli
Costume designer........Dada Saligeri
Costume designer........Anna Anni
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler
Choreographer...........Chiang Ching

Turandot received ten performances this season.

Review of Tim Page in Newsday

Glorious Excess of 'Turandot'

CONFESSION TIME: I rather like Franco Zeffirelli's big, bloated, Cinerama staging of Puccini's "Turandot." The opera lends itself to such spectacle - indeed, gives itself whole-heartedly - and if you're going to stage an opera where the staging itself will likely be the star, it might as well be "Turandot."

Puccini's final work returned to the Metropolitan Opera repertory on Friday night with many of the same players from its last go-round in 1992. Gwyneth Jones, of the huge voice and magisterial presence, was the icy Princess Turandot. Teresa Stratas, of the mercurial, hummingbird heart intensity and uncanny powers of projection, was again Liu the slave girl. New to the opera (at the Met, in any case) was Lando Bartolini, as Calaf, the impulsive suitor.

Friday's performance offered a certain paradox. Bartolini was certainly the most "perfect" singer in the cast. He inevitably sings in tune, his voice has power and a certain clarion luster. And yet his performance struck this listener as loud, brutish and absolutely uninteresting - a Calaf without a thought in his head.

Both Jones and Stratas have vocal flaws that should be obvious to the most casual observer. It is too simple to say that these don't "matter" - of course they do, and there were some painful moments on Friday. But I'll happily swap empty canary-twitter for the sort of real artistry that these two remarkable (and remarkably different) singing actresses bring to their work. Jones 'was" Turandot - haughty, imperious and, underneath it all, terrified to her soul. Stratas was Liu - devoted, desperate and fluttering, but on wings of steel.

Filling out the cast were Paul Plishka (his usual estimable self as Timur), Charles Anthony (a fine Emperor) and Zheng Zhou, Tony Stevenson and Philip Creech as Ping, Pang and Pong. Nello Santi led the Met orchestra and chorus with stylistic authority and sensitivity to his singers. And, again, if you can still appreciate joyful, excessive, almost Trump-ian vulgarity, Zeffirelli's "Turandot" is quite a show.



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