Today I attended the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcast of Puccini’s final opera, Turandot. The performance starred Christine Goerke (Turandot), Yusif Eyvazov (Calàf), Eleonora Buratto (Liù), and James Morris (Timur.) Met Opera Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted. The production is by Franco Zeffirelli and this season’s run of Turandot (and La Boheme) are dedicated to his memoery as he passed away earlier this year.
The production is Mr. Zeffirelli’s lavish production which I have reviewed before. The production, while lavish, also helps to take us away from our world and into Turandot’s realm. And it allows the opera, not the director’s take on the opera, to take the lead and be the centre of attention.
Ms. Goerke, singing the title role of Turandot, was amazing from beginning to end. Her “In questa reggia” was cold and icy, as were her riddles. However, her facial expression when Calàf answered all three answers was heartbreaking – her Turandot’s life was falling apart around her, literally. She was literally begging her father not to make her marry Calàf. Yet by the end of the duet in Act 3, she looked like she was almost reluctant for Calàf to tell her his name – she was in love with him, but also didn’t want to be forced to marry him. Her performance stole the show as far as I am concerned. If you happen to be in New York while she performing the role, or can make it to an encore performance in the cinema, you need to go just for her performance alone – it will be more than worth the price of admission!
Mr. Eyvazov did a good job as Calàf and seemed to get better as the performance went along. Singing opposite Ms. Goerke’s Turandot was not going to be easy but he met the ‘test’ and performed a wonder Nessun dorma in Act 3.
Ms. Buratto put in a moving performance as Liù – her “Signore, ascolta!” in Act 1 was moving, as was her death scene. Her Liù was totally in love with Calàf.
James Morris, in his 49th season at the Met Opera, but in a wonderful performance as Timur, Calàf’s father. I wish the role was much larger – he was so wonderful that I was left wanting to hear more of him.
Maestro Nézet-Séguin conducted a moving performance of the score. It was very quiet when necessary and yet the orcehstra never seemed to overpower the singers – they accompanied the singers brilliantely.
Alexey Lavrov, Tony Stevenson, and Eduardo Valdes – Ping, Pang, and Pong – made a nice trio in their roles. They provided a light hearted scene to start Act 2, longing not to have to plan yet another funeral for yet anoter failed suitor. They really did want Calàf to avoid dying during the first act, yet seriously tried their hardest to get him to leave town during the last.
Carlo Bosi, as Turandot’s father, provided a good job and has a nice voice. It’s a shame the role is so small as I would have liked to have heard more from him. But it was nice to see him walking around at the end of Act 2, chatting with his subjects – a good Royal “walk about” to help show that he cares.
At the end of day the production seemed to make the time fly by and I left the cinema wanting to see more.
Here are a couple video highlights from the Met’s Youtube account: