A very good performance
Ray Barnes | Surrey, British Columbia Canada | 06/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I wish to thank the two prior reviewers of this recording for confirming its provenance as the Levine set done at the Met for Deutsche Grammophon. I have not purchased the VHS version but the Laserdisc, and that format is effective too. As I recall, the Liu of this recording (as I recall, Barbara Hendricks) is the same one as in the Karajan studio recording, and she acquits herself very well on both of them. The rest of the cast generally is very fine, and special marks go to the chorus. The ascent of the moon in Act I, when yet another unsuccessful suitor meets his dark fate, is very moving, particularly aided by the stage sets and original costuming. Domingo as Calaf is self-recommending and he acts the role well too. I have some reservations about Eva Marton's performance in the title role - hence 4 stars instead of 5 - as she has a noticeable beat in her voice, and in spite of the costuming does not look at all like an irresistable Princess that men would literally be willing to risk their heads over. It would be difficult to criticize her acting because the role does not require much of it. Vocally she is no match for Joan Sutherland in this role, nothwithstanding the difference between live and studio conditions. To be fair, she is better here than in the 1983 Turandot done live in Vienna with Jose Carreras and Maazel conducting, also available on VHS. Levine conducts very forcefully and revels in Puccini's exotic percussion and chromaticism. He also handles the Franco Alfano ending as well as possible. It is a great tragedy that Puccini died from throat cancer before completing Act III. The scene of Liu's death is as inspired in its own right as the Liebestod, and then the chords introducing Calaf's "Principessa d'iglessa", where Alfano takes over, hit you like a diatonic jolt.Overall, this remains a very enjoyable experience and gives a thrilling idea of experiencing a live performance at the Met. Highly recommended."
David Cady | Jersey City, NJ USA | 02/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I watch a lot of opera on DVD, and there's usually some element of each performance that doesn't quite match the others. Perhaps it's a singer who isn't on par with his or her cast members, or -- more likely these days -- the design and/or directorial "concept" is anachronistic and distracting. But there's absolutely nothing -- and I mean nothing -- that doesn't work about this Met "Turandot." One can quibble perhaps with the scope of Zeffirelli's production, but for once his obsession with size pays off. This is an Asian fairytale, and the design is appropriately fantastical. (I actually recommend that, if you get the chance, you see this production in the house, as it has to be experienced live to be believed.) And the VOICES!! I was leery about Marton and Mitchell, as I haven't always loved their work in the past; but they're brilliant. As is Mr. Domingo, whom I've always loved. To be honest, "Nessun Dorma" doesn't quite explode the way it should, but I've rarely heard him in better voice. All in all, I cannot imagine a better "Turandot" on DVD."
A must see and listen
Mr Bassil A MARDELLI | Riad El-SOLH , Beirut Lebanon | 10/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Leona Mitchell is one of the very few `Sopranos' able to drive the message home, particularly in this recording.
Placido Domingo warm voice is superb although, at times, I felt the music was a bit higher than the voice. (aria Nessun Dorma - None shall sleep -was magnificent)
The duo (Liu-Calaf) "My Lord: Listen and Don't cry Liu) ... how could one avoid crying!!
The performance of the ministers Ping, Pong and Pang and the way they `absorbed' their roles made me feel they were playing on the original site in Beijing.
Timur, the deposed king of Tartary (the father) bass-voice is impressive.
You will enjoy it much.............."
I finally understand
R. J. Beilstein | North Syracuse, NY USA | 04/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen Turandot performed live, the latest by the Kirov Opera at the Kennedy Center, and I've watched videos, but this is the very first Turandot where the majesty of the music matched what I was seeing on stage, and where I was able to really understand how Turandot came to her final acceptance of the love she feels for Calaf.
Marton's Turandot is minamalist, but more would not, I think, have been better. Her voice is glorious. When I think of Turandot, her performance is the one I'll remember.
Mitchell's Liu makes me cry every time.
And, of course, Domingo is Domingo. I think he was born to play Calaf.
Ping, Pang and Pong were, for once, not just slapstick figures. They were played not only with humor, but also with a depth of feeling that is lacking in some other performances.
And, yes, the parts that Alfano wrote are different, and yes, Liu's death scene is masterful, and the last "real" Puccini that ever was -- but even after multiple watchings of this DVD, my jaw still drops when I see the final scene of Act III. Zeffirelli, better than anyone else I've ever seen direct Turandot, has come close to matching the glory of the music that Alfano put together from Puccini's themes.
Even after multiple viewings, I still get a shiver down my spine when the chorus sings "Decimilla anni al nostro Imperatore!", and I still thrill at the final "Gloria!".