Puccini's Turandot

Peter McClintock (stage director), Donald Runnicles (conductor) – With Eva Marton (Turandot), Michael Sylvester (Calaf) – San Francisco Opera

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Peter McClintock — Stage director

David Hockney — Set designer

Ian Falconer — Costume designer

Thomas J. Munn — Lighting

Eva Marton — Princess Turandot

Michael Sylvester — The Unknown Prince, Calaf

Lucia Mazzaria — Liù, a slave girl

Kevin Langan — Timur, the deposed King of Tartary

Theodore Baerg — Ping, Lord Chancellor

Dennis Petersen — Pang, Majordomo

Craig Estep — Pong, Head chef of the Imperial Kitchen

Joseph Frank — The Emperor Altoum, Turandot's father

Chestor Patton — A Mandarin

Tim Lewis — The Prince of Persia

Victor Liu — The Executioner (Pu-Tin-Pao)

San Francisco Opera Orchestra

Program notes

At the San Francisco Opera, Peter McClintock presents a stirring staging of the opera Turandot composed by Puccini on a libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, with title roles performed by Eva Marton and Michael Sylvester.

In the medieval Beijing, the gorgeous and cruel princess Turandot, who doesn't want to get married, condemns to death all the suitors who can't answer three riddles she asks them. When the young Prince of Persia is about to be executed, an Unknown Prince arrives with his guide Liú. Firstly shocked by the princess's cruelty, he completely falls in love when he meets her. Ignoring his father's advices, the Prince attempts the challenge and manages to rightly answer the three enigmas. Because he doesn't want the princess to marry him just in respect of the deal, the Prince offers her to be free of commitment if she finds his name before the dawn.

The Hungarian soprano Eva Marton performs Princess Turandot, one of the most important roles of her career. The power of her voice doesn't alter her perfect mastery of the musical nuances, she sings in a wonderful way several passions, between cruelty, love and torment. The American tenor Michael Sylvester performs a noble and heroic prince, and the legendary and comical ministers Ping, Pang and Pong are performed by Theodore Baerg, Dennis Petersen and Craig Estep.

The scenery made in a pure style by David Hockney, declined in blue and red tones, is a perfect frame to highlight the sumptuous costumes of the characters made by Ian Falconer. Thomas Munn's deft variations on lightings completely plunge us into the atmosphere of the tale taking place at the heart of medieval China. Puccini found in particular inspiration in the original play composed by Carlo Gozzi.

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