Sunday, April 29, 2007


Conductor: Marco Armiliato
Turandot: Erika Sunnegardh
Liu: Liping Zhang
Calaf: Richard Margison
Timur: Hao Jiang Tian
Emperor Altoum: Bernard Fitch
Ping: Hung Yun
Pang: John McVeigh
Pong: Charles Reid
Mandarin: Patrick Carfizzi

Turandot: The opera (and final scene) that changed my life. Turandot: My favorite opera. Turandot: The largest Met production ever (until Trittico). Turandot: The opera I saw last night.

I'm still in a daze. I'm not sure I'm thinking all that straight. I went into the house last night with low expectations. Whether it was because it from what I heard during the Turandot broadcast, or other peoples reviews, I didn't want to get my hopes up. Turandot being my favorite opera, I didn't want a major disappointed. Now I ask myself... What in the world was I worried about??
Erika Sunnegardh was better than I could have ever imagined! Her voice rang through the house like a church bell. Clean and clear as glass and as powerful as a lion. Her acting was great. She glided across the stage as she sang, and when she went down the short stairs it seemed like she was floating.
Speaking of the stage... The sets... THE SETS! They were immense and spectacular. That's what the whole evening was, a spectacle. So wonderfully glorious that I couldn't believe what I was seeing (and in most cases, hearing). Zefferelli was a genius. Incredible.
Richard Margison was our Calaf last night. After what I had heard in the Saturday Broadcast I was not expecting much from this tenor. It's good to not be disappointed, even if that means lowering your expectations. His voice was fine (except for the big famous high notes, had a little trouble), but his acting was not fine. Even my dad agreed that he was "a stiff." Sort of "I will kneel down because the director said so. I will walk over here because the director says so." and so on. His voice was also not expressive, very little emotion, but at some points he had good phrasing.
Liping Zhang was very well received by the audience, and rightfully so. Her Liu was heartbreaking and her voice sounded lovely. All of her singing had tons of feeling and emotion. Overall she was wonderful.
Hao Jiang Tian sounded fantastic as Timur. His voice was deep and sonorous as could be. It's not easy being a blind man on stage!!
The three ministers (or the "three p's" as I call them), Ping, Pang, and Pong, are one of my favorite parts of this opera! Their comic relief is so welcome, especially in an opera such as this! I was waiting anxiously during the first act for their entrance and almost squealed with delight when they appeared! The first scene of the second act was fantastic as can be expected!
Basically, my only problem with this production was the tenor's acting!! "Nessun Dorma" didn't blow me away, but what could I expect?

My dad and I noticed something interesting about the conductor... He didn't have the score there. Umm... Could he have memorized the orchestration??? That's pretty darn impressive! It was also impressive when the trumpet players went up to the lighting booth at the top of the house and BLASTED the imperial theme into our ears. THAT was cool.
The orchestra was glorious as usual. Kudos to the horn and percussionists. That's a tough show to do. Blastin' away the whole time. haha! The chorus has less of the "old lady syndrome" when you're in the house, I noticed. As long as you don't hear it in the house, I will turn the other cheek during the broadcasts!

This Turandot was absolutely magnificent. I'm so happy this was my first live Turandot, I was pleasantly surprised by the singers. I tip my hat to all and "TUTTI BRAVI!!!"

Interesting side note: There was a couple in one of the boxes with a BABY. I mean, one-year-old or younger type of baby. I was so afraid that the baby would start crying or something! I said to my dad "If that kid starts crying during Nessun Dorma, him and his parents are getting bumped to Orchestra level using the quickest way down, courtesy of me!!!" We joked about it for a while, but once the act started the baby didn't make a peep, to our relief.

Diecimilla anni al nostro Imperatore! =)

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