Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Puccini - Turandot|
Actors: Luana DeVol, Franco Farina, Barbara Frittoli, Stefano Palatchi, Francisco Vas
Director: Nuria Espert
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Beautiful to watch
J. Anderson | Monterey, CA USA | 03/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An interesting Turandot, beautiful to watch - the design and especially the lighting make it something special for the eyes. Not so much for the ears, although I warmed up to Luana deVol's Turandot as it progressed. It helped to have first watched the mini-docu about her in the extras provided. It made me believe more in her artistry. She owns a hardworking and not particularly beautiful voice, more hardy than rich, but she's an able actor, and her committment carries the day. The riddle scene, despite its lack of vocal lustre, is a convincing piece of operatic art. Filmed live at the Liceu, the recording balances arent all they could be. When the singers are downstage, the sound is robust; as they recede upstage things become troublesome. The sets are lit beautifully, expressing an holistic, at times visionary, approach to the story. Tenor Franco Farina is only sporadically standout, and mostly seems to struggle with Calaf's big moments. Barbara Frittoli leaves a lot to be desired after hearing Caballe or Mitchell sing Liu, but she makes do. Get it for a beautiful looking show; it's survivable vocally, if far from ideal. Not in a league with Marton's Vienna Turandot with Maazel (the best of her versions), this DVD has its merits even if great singing isnt among them."
One to avoid
alarmi | 04/12/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Oh my. I can't really think of THE Turandot video to recommend, but I know that this isn't it. The "modern" ending of Turandot killing herself is just an example of Espert projecting a view onto an opera without taking into consideration whether or not it fits with the characters, the story, or even the music. It does neither. Which is a shame, because Turandot's transformation in Act 3 is really quite stunningly acted. But then there's the singing. Barbara Frittoli as Liu is the best soloist here, but she's just as good in the better Mehta video. Luana DeVol has an incredibly wobbly voice, yet still uses it better than expected. Even if she's not as good as most other Turandots on video, she's not terrible; and, as I said, she's a good actress. If she doesn't exactly look the part of an alluring Chinese princess, she at least has the ability to look threatening or sweet at a moment's notice, which could have been used to greater effect had Espert just let her follow the libretto. Franco Farina as Calaf is awful. That's not hyperbole or being snide, that's just the honest truth. He's awful. Sure, he's loud and powerful, but so are fog horns. Stefano Palatchi is a seriously wobbly Timur. The Ping Pang Pong trio sing decently, but look and act like amateur drag queens. And finally, yes, the sets look cool but it's really not enough. I hope this review is enough to ward off the curious."
Worthy, Opulant Turandot
Brian Noble | Boulder, Colorado USA | 11/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This production of Puccini's TURANDOT, recorded in its revival in 2005 for the Gran Teatre del Liceu, opened the rebuilt Liceu after the disastrous fire of 1994, and is notable for the stage direction of Nuria Espert, Spain's famous actress and performer, and also for the house and role debut of Luana DeVol in the title role.
For those who appreciate seeing an opera performed in the time and place envisioned by the composer, there is no lack of visual opulence in the set design by Ezio Frigerio and the costumes by Franca Squarciapino.
Nuria Espert takes us into a realm ruled not only by the man-hater Turandot, but also by an entire female political structure comprised of women ranging from a group of aged, severe governesses down to 6 young girls'future Turandots? Espert questions the ability of Turandot to transform herself into the man-loving Mrs. Calaf in the last scenes of the opera. Instead, Turandot sheds her first tears at the recognition of love, yet ends her life Hari Kari style unable to give herself to love.
The Orquestra Simfonica del Gran Teatre del Liceu is a delight under conductor Giuliana Carolla and his expert guidance. Always supportive, never covering, he reveals the transparencies and contrasts in Puccini's well-known score. Barbara Frittoli is touching as Liu, golden in tone. Franco Farina, princely in appearance, threateningly masculine as Calaf, sings heroicly with only the extreme top perhaps oversung. Luana DeVol sings with metal, her distinctive voice capable of piano and legato line, admirably at ease in the top range most of the time. The 3rd Act, however, reveals her warm musicality, perhaps more to her artistic temperament. The rest of the cast, Josep Ruiz, Altoum; Stefano Palatchi, Timur; Liuis Sintes, Franciso Vas and David Alegret as Ping, Pang and Pong; and Philip Cutlip, Mandarin fill their roles admirably.
A very nice production of Turandot
Juliensa | France | 11/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I particularly enjoyed this production of Turandot. If you are looking for something modern-looking, you might be disappointed, however, this production has a very original twist with the plot ending differently, that is with Turandot's suicide.
Female singers are very good. Luana deVol's Turandot is touching, her singing is credible and gives the picture of a tormented princess, sometimes violent, sometimes fragile rather than the one-dimensional harridan sometimes depicted by others.
Barbara Fritolli's Liu is beautiful and credible, her suicide scene is one of the best moments of this production.
Male singers are good too. Farina's Calaf may not equal the greats, but is solid and credible.
The DVD features and extra 20 minute documentary about Luana deVol's career, which she started at 39! A humble, hard-working singer who made it up to the greatest opera houses."