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Puccini: Turandot [Blu-ray]

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Susan Foster sings the role of the cruel daughter of the Chinese emperor who demands her suitors correctly answer three riddles, on pain of death, in this Opera Australia production of Puccini's masterpiece. A fabulous production directed and choreographed by Graeme Murphy with a strong cast headed by Australia's answer to Pavarotti, Rosario La Spina.

Product Details

  • Actors: Foster, La Spina, Opera Australia Chorus, Orchestra Victoria, Licata
  • Directors: Murphy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opera Australia
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,685 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Chandler on February 4, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Of all Puccini's operas Turandot is by far the most difficult to cast and stage. In the days of CD all the cast had to do was sing and it was not a lot different in the early days of DVD. Blu-ray creates a host of challenges and the bar is being raised all the time. This new production by Opera Australia, recorded in Melbourne, is a cut above any other that I have seen in a number of important ways: The staging is very good indeed. I found the Valencia performance too dark and cluttered, here the lighter costumes and excellent overall balance give a most satisfying visual impression. Great attention has been paid to a few special effects such as the corps of executioners and the Chinese temptress who are just brilliant. The three ministers are also handled a bit differently and with great skill. Liu is portrayed by a Korean soprano to good effect and a number of east Asians appear in the cast. We are still some way from getting a Turandot that looks the part but Susan Foster gives a frailer and more credible portrayal than the formidable Maria Guleghina. The orchestral playing and direction by Andrea Licata was very satisfying and clearly a good time was had by all. This is now the best Turandot on disc and it may be a while before we get a better one. Yes, Calaf and Turandot are not ideal but they are just as good or better than any other performance on Blu-ray and overall this is now the one to get. Well done Opera Australia!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Smith on May 2, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This performance of Turandot is one where everything works. In fact, one could say it's a performance where "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

The two female leads, Susan Foster as Turandot, and Hyeseoung Kwon as Liu, are more than equal to the demands of their respective roles. Ms. Foster easily handles the high tessitura of "Principessa Divina," (rightly regarded as one of operas most difficult dramatic soprano parts), she has a beautiful voice, and her vocal technique is marvelous as well. There is no stridency, no scooping or sliding up to the high notes, and her intonation (pitch) is spot on. Listen to her performance of "In questa reggia" to hear how well this difficult aria can be sung.

Hyeseoung Kwon as the slave girl, Liu, not only possesses a beautiful, lyric soprano voice, she physically graces her role with a caliber of acting that is convincing and touching. Her performance of her third act aria, "Tu che di gel sei cinta," where she explains to Turandot why she is willing to die for the man she loves, is gorgeously sung as well as heart breakingly moving.

The lead male singers in this opera also have voices of great beauty and their acting is quite credible as well. Although the tenor lead, Rosario La Spina, needs some time in the first act to warm up, he has a voice of lyric beauty and his high notes are very comfortably delivered. His "Nessun dorma" is a joy to hear.

Jud Arthur, the Timur, has a very pleasing, rich bass voice and his acting is so convincing that one could almost believe he really is blind. A particularly good example of his talents is his third act aria where he realizes that his companion, Liu, is dead. It is both well sung and quite touchingly acted.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By alarmi on June 8, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is not the first time this production has been released on DVD. A few years ago, the original run was released with Kenneth Collins as an over-parted yet entirely committed Calaf, and Ealyn Voss as an interesting, if shrill and non-"physique du role", Turandot. That video had some great camera work that, although dated, made full advantage of the creative choreography and stage pictures that made this production special. That camerawork is unfortunately not repeated here, nor do we have Collins's unforgettable performance, but as a whole I think I might prefer this one.

Turandot is a difficult opera to be satisfied with on video. The lead roles are incredibly difficult, with most Turandots sounding either wobbly and harsh (Eva Marton) or steady and boring (Ghena Dimitrova). For me, the happy mediums have been Giovanna Casolla and Francesca Patane, with Patane looking and acting every inch the headstrong and alluring princess. Here, Susan Foster makes another great impression in the title role. In the middle and lower range, she has an alarming wobble to her voice (this becomes less bothersome as the production goes on), but she is rock solid, fearless, and tireless on the cruel higher range that makes this role and ruins many a famous soprano (Maria Guleghina, I'm looking at you). Most importantly, Foster is entirely inside her role at every moment and concentrates on communicating an actual character arc so that the transformation becomes so much more believable than ever before because you've watched it happening in her the entire time. It seemed as though neither she nor the audience knew how she would respond in the final scene, which made it all the more exciting.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Keirle-Smith on April 1, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Length: 2:22 Mins
The Jury was delighted to see a new production from Opera Australia, after giving rave reviews to several of their other productions last year (Lakmé, Don Giovanni and La Traviata). But it must be said that the consistently high quality we have now come to expect from Sydney (or in this case, Melbourne) really is unique. And "Turandot" could be the greatest achievement of them all, since it is an opera that needs a creative approach to make it come alive. We have all seen too many "Turandots" that are so tiresomely static that even the superb music seems to pall after a while... But not this one! For director Graeme Murphy adds a whole new dimension to this production by adding dancers and his own distinctive choreographic style - enhanced by some very creative camera work. The result is quite dazzling and the Jury was extremely impressed - and moved - as some of their comments show:

"Great staging in terms of the number of singers and dancers, the costumes, the interplay of flags and the choreography... I almost felt I was there, in China! The voices were beautiful, and I particularly enjoyed those of Turandot (Susan Foster) and Liu (Hyeseoung Kwon)... "

Authenticity was in fact something that several Jury members singled out for special comment:

"The choreography, chorus movements and set design were superb. As always, the music was stirring and delightful. Plus, everyone's movements were very authentically Chinese. The tenor sang beautifully, despite being a bit wooden -- unlike Timus his father, who moved me to tears with his farewell... All in all I found this performance quite thrilling.
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Puccini: Turandot [Blu-ray]
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