Whether through its phenomenal acoustics or breathtaking architecture,
Valencia's spectacular Calatrava opera house "Palau de les Arts Reina
Sofía" - itself a work of art - seems to bring out the best of all who
gather there to celebrate artistic creation. And this production of
Puccini's "Turandot" is no exception!
Internationally acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige (1993 Golden Palm
in Cannes for Farewell My Concubine) delivers an opulent background for
the fairy-tale story of the Chinese Princess Turandot, who will marry only
a prince of royal blood who can solve her three riddles. With a wealth of
sumptuous costumes and palace sets designed and produced in China,
Kaige's staging provides a compellingly authentic accent to Puccini's
exotic orchestral palette. "I hope that this Turandot ... will make the
audience perceive certain aspects of Chinese culture more clearly," says
director Chen Kaige.
While Zubin Mehta and his technically brilliant Orquestra de la Comunitat
trigger a "genuine fireworks of sound" (Wiener Zeitung), Maria Guleghina
triumphs as Turandot by tempering her character's icy coldness with the
luminous warmth of her voice. As Calaf, Marco Berti recalls Pavarotti at
his best in his heartbreaking "Nessun dorma!," one of the most popular
tenor arias in the entire opera repertoire. Also outstanding in their
vocal artistry and stage presence are Alexia Voulgaridou as Liu and
Alexander Tsymbalyuk as Timur.