Sunday, 2 August 2009

Turandot in Barcelona July 2009

If I had started my travel from my home instead from my parents' home I would not have had to stay the night in a hotel near Oslo Gardermoen Airport. And the shuttle bus cost more than I thought, 60 NOK each way from/to the airport. The hotel was OK. And I ended quite liking even my hotel in Barcelona. More about that later

July 30th, 2009 Turandot (I quote my website as it is when I write this post)
It ends with a suicide.

First I thought the whole opera ended with Liu's death. Then came a curtain of the sky filled with stars in the night. A wonderful duet started. And Turandot killed herself after "I know his name. His name is LOVE". And Turandot killed herself because he was Love, and she was Death. A night filled with horror had drowned her white dress with the blood of inhabitants of the city. Nessun dorma, he sang dreamily of glory and love, not caring that his nobody shall sleep would mean torture and death to others. Calaf only cared when his own father and Liu was threatened. And Turandot herself: fascinated by Calaf and by the sacrificial love of Liu, but in the end not willing/capable to step out of her death cult and into becoming a loving woman.

Vocally it was never any doubt about Marco Berti's Calaf. A clarion voice with both Non piangere, Liu and Nessun dorma with the closest to perfection I ever heard live. He was no tempted to hold the last tone in Nessun dorma as long as possible I am certain he would have won that contest. But it is opera and no contest. Ainhoa Arteta was wonderful as Liu. Stefano Palatchi as Timur was not so demanding a voice as he should. But acted wonderfully. Ping, Pang and Pong was Ok when one got over the costumes in the act 1 and start of act 2. Ping was Gabriel Bermundez who sang Silvio in Zurich on July 8. Sadly he was often the weak link. But in the 3rd act he was wonderful.

Maria Guleghina as Turandot, what can I say about her. She is definitely more of a Tosca than a Turandot. But maybe it was the production and director's fault. I wonder how it had been had Guleghina been able/allowed to put all her energy and acting skills in the role. She was best vocally and all when she could step free from the robotic Chinese choreography.

But other than that, I liked the production and the choreography (of the dancers)

July 31th, 2009 Turandot (I quote my website as it is when I write this post)
I hoped that this time it would not end with suicide. But this Turandot died too like on July 30th.

Still, it was another Turandot. First the performance did not start until 30 minutes later. That was because Daniela Dessi was not well but she still came. It was not possible to hear that she was not well except that she was singing softer in 3rd act and the orchestra was gentle with her. But for normal ears all was well. Not just well but splendid. And her husband-tenor Fabio Armiliato was a great Calaf. Giorgio Giuseppini was great as Timur.

Anna Shafajinskaia was Turandot. I almost thought that she had been replaced by Maria Guleghina. But Anna did not have Maria's specialties. Anna S. was in a more steely voice which was perfect for Turandot. But after Maria Guleghina's Turandot it was not enough for me even if singing and acting was more than perfect. But with Guleghina there is an extra tension, personality and charisma.

The main thing, the duet between Calaf/Turandot was acted so differently that I really hoped to the last that Turandot would choose life. But no Happy Ending. Great opera performance, but ...
More about my Barcelona trip later...

For more reviews from my travels, see

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