I attended the 284th performance of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot at The Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center, New York on January 20. 2010. The mosaic above shows views outside and inside the opera house --please click on to enlarge to see the details.
Turandot was the last opera Puccini wrote, and is based on the play by Carlo Gozzi called Turandotte, a fairy tale set in an imagined Orient. Unfortunately Puccini died before he could complete it, but luckily he left many sketches behind which allowed composer Franco Alfano to complete it.
Photo credit NY Times
I've seen the The Metropolitan Opera's Franco Zeffirelli production many times, and it never ceases to amaze me with it's large cast, elaborate costumes and glittery, spectacular sets. The choreography by Chiang Ching is exquisite. Andris Nelsons was the conductor - his Met debut this season was Turandot.
Photo Credit NY Times
The three act opera takes place in Peking in legendary times. Near the city walls a Mandarin reads an edict that any prince seeking to marry Princess Turandot must first answer three riddles. If he fails he will be executed. Calaf, an exiled Prince, decides that he will attempt to win her hand in marriage, over the protest of his father Timur and the slave girl Liu, who secretly loves Calaf, despite the fact that many Princes had already tried, failed, and were put to death. Calaf stuns the cold and treacherous Princess Turandot by answering the three riddles, and the Princess begs her father not to give her to this stranger in an emotional aria. Calaf decides to give her a riddle of his own to answer. If she can guess his name before dawn he'll die for her.
Turandot issues a proclamation that no one can sleep until the stranger's name is discovered. Threatened with torture, Liu singing a dramatic and emotional aria, kills herself rather than reveal Calaf's name. Assured of victory, Calaf sings "Nessun Dorma" and then at dawn he takes Turandot in his arms and forces her to kiss him, and tells her his name. As the people hail the emperor, Turandot approaches the throne and announces the strangers name is "Love."
The entire synopsis of Turandot can be read on this link on The Metropolitan Opera web site.
The cast of Turandot taking their final bows. (mosaic it will enlarge if clicked on)
The role of Turandot was performed by soprano Maria Guleghina and the role of Calaf was performed by tenor Salvatore Licitra.
Soprano Maija Kovalevska was Liu. Her tender performance earned her much applause and appreciation
If you would like to listen to the magnificent aria "Nessun Dorma" this Youtube shows a wonderful rendition by the three tenors, Domingo, Carrerras and Pavorotti.
There are two more operas in my subscription this season - La Boheme and La Traviata. I hope you will join me then to read about those magnificent productions. I will be excited to introduce someone very special who is making their Metropolitan debut in the La Traviata production!
Linking to Mary at The Little Red House blog for Mosaic Monday --please visit Mary to see her beautidul mosaic and links to other blogs participating today.