Met Opera HD broadcast of ‘Turandot’ shows in Breckenridge
Special to the Daily
if you go
What: Met Opera Live in HD: ‘Turandot’
When: Saturday, Jan. 30, 10:55 a.m.
Where: Colorado Mountain College, Finkel Auditorium, 107 Denison Placer Road, Breckenridge
Cost: Tickets: Student $10 / Senior (65+) $16 / Adult $20
More information: http://www.nromusic.com or 970.453.5825
The Metropolitan Opera High Definition broadcast of Puccini’s opera, “Turandot,” will be held at the Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge Saturday, Jan. 30. The opening curtain is scheduled for 11 a.m. The Metropolitan premier of “Turandot” was in 1926. Puccini’s final opera is an epic fairy tale set in a China of legend, loosely based on a play by 18th-century Italian dramatist Carlo Gozzi. This opera production has been credited with an astounding and innovative use of chorus and orchestra, typical of Puccini. Of interest, Puccini died a sudden death before the last scene was composed, a task left to the then composer, Franco Alfano.
Act 1 of this ancient Chinese fairy tale begins outside the Imperial Palace in Peking. A mandarin announces to an assembled crowd that any male candidate seeking to marry the princess, Turandot, must answer three riddles she poses. Failure will result in execution. We are introduced to a girl, Liù, along with her father, past king Timur, who unknowingly is the father of Calàf, who has become enthralled with Turandot’s beauty. The most recent suitor, the Prince of Persia, is seen being led to execution. The crowd calls on the princess to spare him, which she refuses. Nonetheless, Calàf forces his way to strike the gong signaling himself to be the next candidate to answer Turandot’s riddles, only to be discouraged by her three ministers, Ping, Pang and Pong, who appear to discourage him as Act I ends.
Act II takes place inside the palace. Ping, Pang and Pong lament Turandot’s bloody reign. The people next gather to hear Turandot’s question for the new challenger. Facing Calàf, she poses her first question: What is born each night and dies each dawn? “Hope,” Calàf correctly responds. Turandot continues: What flickers and is warm like a flame, yet is not a flame? After a brief thought, “Blood,” Calàf correctly answers. Shaken, Turandot delivers the third riddle: What is like ice but burns? Calàf, after hesitation, triumphantly cries out, “Turandot!” The crowd erupts with expressions of joy. Turandot is distraught. Hoping to win her love, Calàf offers Turandot a challenge of his own — if she can learn his name by dawn, he will forfeit his life.
Act III is held in the impressive Temple gardens. Turandot has announced that no one will sleep until someone gives her the stranger’s name. Calàf is certain of his victory and sings the aria, “Nessun dorma!” Ping, Pang and Pong again try to bribe Calàf to defer. Soldiers drag in Liù and Timur. Liù indicates that she alone knows the stranger’s identity but will never reveal it. Upon being tortured, she commits suicide with a soldier’s dagger. The crowd forms a funeral procession and the body is taken away. As the opera ends, Turandot and Calàf embrace. Knowing emotion for the first time, Turandot weeps in singing a closing aria. Then before the emperor’s throne, Turandot declares she knows the stranger’s name: it is “Love.”
Soprano Nina Stemme performs the title role of Turandot, the proud princess of ancient China, whose riddles doom every suitor who seeks her hand. Tenor Marco Berti performs as Calàf, the brave prince who sings “Nessun dorma” and wins her love. Soprano Anita Hartig performs the role of Liù, the faithful slave girl. The vocal and dramatic acting by the supporting cast in addition to the main characters were also highly acclaimed in reviews of the opening performances.
Franco Zeffirelli’s “Turandot” stage production, updated from the first production in 1987, continues as one of the few classic productions left at the Met Opera house. The Emperor’s palace, described in one recent review is “one of the most blindingly opulent scenes the Met has to offer.” This performance is to be conducted by Paolo Carignani, described in recent reviews as a “cajoling urgent playing from the orchestra and enthusiastic singing from the chorus.”
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