Puccini's 'Turandot' by Minnesota Opera at Ordway Center

  • Article by: larry fuchsberg , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 15, 2013 - 2:15 PM

Review: The score’s problems are gratifyingly “solved” in a meticulous new Minnesota Opera production.

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singersApr. 16, 1310:52 PM

I don't know what universe he's from but I saw the same production tonight and was very disappointed. The staging was inept, the singing ho-hum (with the notable exception of ‘Liu’) and the costumes and makeup just plain silly. The previous 2 productions of Turandot at MN Opera had more style, gravitas and connected better with the score and story. MN Opera can do better.

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pavplusApr. 27, 13 1:38 PM

I'm afraid I can't agree with "singers". We saw the show on the 17th with the "B" cast and we had a great time. I will agree that the stage got very crowded at some points, but overall, I though the staging worked well for a venue the size of the Ordway. We thought that the singers portraying the 3 ministers did a fantastic job, and didn't have any problem hearing them from our vantage point in the second row. Not the best place to get a panoramic view, but good for hearing some "non-acouticized" vocals directly from the singers. Kristie Hageman was amazing as Liu and pretty much stole the show. Timur's lament over Liu's death was well sung and very touching to watch. Now, Helen Todd's Turandot definitely doesn't have the vocal goods to project over Puccini's orchestra. Scott Piper's Calaf was vocally inconsistent, but he definitely has the vocal heft to pull off the part when he's not swallowing his sound in the lower register. All in all, we really enjoyed this production, which was rewarded with a standing ovation. By the way, Berio's quiet ending, which he claims was supported by a comment Puccini made to one of his librettists, is offset by another clear indication by Puccini that he intended to use the "Nessun Dorma" reprise at the end of the opera. So, another dichotomy that shows that Puccini was probably going to struggle with the ending one way or the other.

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