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Turandot on ice, now with more breakdancing!

Those slackers among you who were not in attendance for Sunday’s chat/viewing of the Bayerische Staatsoper Turandot now have the chance to get up to speed with this wild, weird and wacky Fura dels Baus production, after the jump.


  • 1
    m. croche says:

    Turandot Gangnam Style!

  • 2
    rcfgodoy says:

    I heard more than watched, but found some things in the production rather odd. Very odd was ending after Liu’s death and all I got was curtain calls. I know the Alfano/Toscanini ending isn’t Puccini’s, but it’s more of an ending

  • 3
    la vociaccia says:

    Whoa…theorin just crushes the orchestra.

  • 4
    Porgy Amor says:

    This is closer to what I had hoped the LePage RING would be like when I read the promises of how visually striking it was going to be.

  • 5
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    I don’t get it. The show is very creative and it even sounds a lot like Turandot. But why do these Ferrits of the Baus think it’s necessary to put people in cranes and hydrolic lifts to sell and opera? True they have master the art of multiple layers of videos, projections and stage lighting in ways few operas have been seen before and the ensemble of the BOS works hard to realize the concept. It all looks like a highbrow cross between a Las Vegas spectacular and Circe de soleil on a big paella pan. Very creative, but meaningless slop. Calaf is one of the best today, but what’s with the hockey match? Could any soprano be more upstaged than this for “In questa reggia”. The audio on the various video conversions of the webcast make Théorin sound like Minnie Mouse with a megaphone.

    • 5.1
      manou says:

      Well let’s hope this Circe (daughter of the Soleil) will not turn us all into swine.

    • 5.2
      phoenix says:

      I can’t tolerate too much of Théorin this month after making the mistake of putting up with her Hendrixdriven Motown Siegfried Brünnhilde from Budapest broadcast last week -- so I only watched acts 1 & 3 of this Turandot -- regie was fine, in fact, with the exception of Mme. Big Nothing as Turandot, it was the only performance I have ever seen of it that was faithful to the spirit of the work. Although a beautiful singer when I first heard her in 2000, I have come to progressively dislike Big Nothing as her singing has become uglier every season.
      -- Bravi to Bayerische Staatsoper for restoring Puccini’s original (intended or not) more suitable ending. Alfano and Berio are great masters in their own right (although in performance Berio’s ending works better than Alfano’s), the very idea of having a ‘happyending’ to this story is totally ludicrous -- Calaf is only after her money and she’s been with a lot better hustlers than him -- it is not plausible (unless she were on her deathbed from dementia). Besides, by the end of the last act Turandot has become (for me) the most hated, revengeful Villainess in all of opera. I never could stand her anyways (except when Dimitrova sang her) -- the only appropriate ending would be to perform the last bars Puccini wrote to the end of Timur’s mourning song and then silently the entire mob attacks la Principesse and stomps her to death -- CURTAIN!

      • 5.2.1
        operacat says:

        I actually liked the ending in this production also. I agree about not having sympathy for either Turandot (I dont like Calaf either given the way he treats Liu and his father). I want someone to rewrite an ending where Turandot proclaims to the crowd that his name is “CALAF!” and he is dragged off to be beheaded as the crowd shrieks in abject despair under the continued tyranny — a project for Jonathan Harvey or anyone when the copyright lapses?

      • 5.2.2
        Clita del Toro says:

        Phoenix, I like your “Salome” ending for Turandot and well as Operacat’s idea for finishing off Calaf.

    • 5.3
      roseducor says:

      The ice skaters: attendants of la principessa di gelo

      • 5.3.1
        Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        Unfortunately, I think you’re right about that! It is sort of fun when the projections turn the entire palazzo portico into an igloo.

          Quanto Painy Fakor says:

          By the same token, I suppose that the hocky players Gira la cote!

          Clita del Toro says:

          Wasn’t that icy structure modeled after Rem Koolhas’ CCTV building on China.

          • m. croche says:

            Yes, it was. During the performance, I kept hoping the building would go up in flames the way it’s sister building did a few years back when some not-very-bright CCTV executives ordered fireworks to be shot up alongside the building for New Year’s.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Well, croche, that would have melted the ice!

    • 5.4
      Batty Masetto says:

      Quanto, though I’ll have to wait to watch this (and I will watch it), your response is very similar to mine to every Fura dels Baus production I’ve seen. Technical dazzle substituting for emotional and intellectual engagement with the work -- in total contrast to Bieito, Neuenfels, et al. Oedipe’s comparison with Zeffirelli seems close to the mark.

      • 5.4.1
        Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        I only know that I never want to go boating or fishing in the Baus. One might get swept up by a giant fork lift.

  • 6
    oedipe says:

    Fura dels Baus, especially this Turandot, is electronic age Zeffirelli.

  • 7
    Clita del Toro says:

    Turandot is not one of my faforite operas, but I enjoyed the over-the-top production. Some of it was very beautiful. I think the Calaf was overparted, although he sang pretty well. He seemed to struggle to be heard at times, and the top didn’t seem to have enough squillo for the role.
    Theorin was kinda weird and didn’t seem to fit into the production, visually or dramatically. She needs more of a lower register for the role. I really liked the Liu, Farnocchia (?). First time I have ever heard the Liu drown the the Calaf.

    • 7.1
      phoenix says:

      I too liked Farnocchia -- from the 1st time I heard her several years ago -- she has kept her beautiful voice intact. Appropriate it is that she got to sing this Liu.

    • 7.2
      scifisci says:

      That’s the funny thing about recordings, Clita. In the house, Lee has some of the most incredible squillo of any tenor today, and certainly has no trouble being heard. As I watched the Turandot stream I couldn’t believe how different he sounded as compared to hearing him live. I think the audio compression must have dulled his sound a great deal.

      • 7.2.1
        Clita del Toro says:

        Scifi, that’s good to know.

      • 7.2.2
        oedipe says:

        I don’t have problems with his squillo, it’s the ingolato sound that I can’t stand.

          scifisci says:

          I agree the voice sounds rather ugly in the video, but again, live that ingolato sound is much much less pronounced. Instead of sounding swallowed, it sounds baritonal.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            I noticed the “ingolato” sound as well, and was surprised. I was trying to ignore it.

      • 7.2.3
        Ichtrinkkeinwein says:

        Yeah, I would be leery about assessing voices from these streams. Amplification has been used in at least one of the two Padrissa stagings for Munich, the recent “Babylon,” and given the poor audibility of the Liù (Scherbachenko, perched high for Tu che di gel sei cinta) at the première last December, it would come as no surprise to learn that refined electronics are now aiding vocal projection in this “Turandot,” with its circus-style, wide-open stage wings and lack of voice-supporting sets. Zubin Mehta had Jennifer Wilson and Marco Berti (both of them large-voiced singers) deliver much music near the stage apron.

    • 7.3
      phoenix says:

      Well Clita, Mme. Big Nothing can’t compare to My beloved Bride of Edward Scissorhands at Palacio de Bellas Artes en la Ciudad de México (1985)

      • 7.3.1
        Clita del Toro says:

        Phoenix, you are right--love the “Bride of Edward Scissorhands.” She is fun, campy and sings it better than “Big Nothing.” Who knew?

  • 8
    Bianca Castafiore says:

    Theorin? Wasn’t Jennifer Wilson the one who was in the promotional clip that someone had posted????

  • 9
    phoenix says:

    Right operacat -- you could modify this production slightly and satisfy your requests. The mean hag could execute Liu and Calaf together in a romantic love death -- Timur’s mourning is the final tragic conclusion. In case you felt obliged to tack on one of those phony Hollywood Bowl final grande duets, you could bring the curtain down (in honor of Puccini) for a change of scene -- to Turandot’s old-age deathbed (don’t worry -- it won’t take much time -- with most of the pink-slip Turandots they have nowadays all you’ll have to do is get a sturdy chisel excavate a few layers of Botax). In Turandot’s ultimate delirium, the spirit of Calaf will return to her for the final duet -- as she dies on a huge pile of Princess and the Pea overstuffed pillows, she is ecstaticly reconciled with Calaf.

  • 10
    papopera says:

    Cute tenor. Is he pinoy, tibetan, jap, chink or korean ?
    good voice on him.

  • 11

    Well, the fucking video was removed. Did anyone download it?

  • 12
    willym says:

    Fura dels Baus do some fun things -- the Grande Macabre we saw in Rome with singers being expelled from the mouth, nipples, crotch and anus of a gigantic revolving woman was perhaps a not unworthy expression of Ligeti’s opera -- even some of the rather bizarre Bollywood-meets-Lord of the Rings-meets-Leonardo Da Vinci-meets Kiki and her Dolphins from the Lido de Paris Tannhauser at Scala was of interested. But and you just knew there was a but didn’t you? the actual stage direction was often of the old line-up, face the conductor, arms and lungs wide open school of opera acting. Motivation -- bah what motivation look at the slick projections and the floating bodies! Oh look there’s more floating bodies!!!

    Funny but a little stale after two productions -- what must it be like after four or five?

  • 13
    Agnese di Cervia says:

    Nuria Espert directed a Turandot ending in suicide

    • 13.1
      Agnese di Cervia says:

      I always though that this was the way to end the opera, long before Nuria came with the idea. It is absurd (for me)that such a bitch ends blissfully in love and living happy without remorse.

  • 14
    m. croche says:

    ?a href=””>Turandot, as seen from Beijing.

  • 15
    Bianca Castafiore says:

    An unusually girlish Turandot from the National Opera of Korea, Hye-Youn Seo. The tenor is Dongwon Shin.

  • 16
    DharmaBray says:

    The ENO Rupert Goold Turandot set in and around a Chinese restaurant, complete with dancing Elvis and drug f#$%ed Liu from 2009 remains my fave for the time being.

  • 17
    Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Quite a different Turandot and rare to find on video:

  • 18
    anotherjj says:

    Any notice that in this production, Liu doesn’t get to off herself….instead she is basically executed by getting a bamboo pole rammed up her ass and out through the top of her head…….