The Prickle (@ThePrickle) July 06, 2017
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House shines in this revival of Puccini’s final operatic masterpiece. “Nessun dorma” is one of the most famous operatic arias of all time (Paul Potts’ performance on /Britain’s Got Talent/ is one of the most watched videos on YouTube), and tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko delivers the goods in Act III as the Unknown Prince. But this is just one gem of many to be discovered in Puccini’s most tonally adventurous opera.
First performed in 1926, it is impossible to listen to the score now without hearing decades of Hollywood. Here, Puccini’s most ravishing orchestration and harmony is brought to life with charged, swaggering brilliance by conductor Dan Ettinger, and you are unlikely to hear a more supremely confident orchestral performance in an opera house this season or perhaps ever.
Soprano Hibla Gerzmava is the audience favourite for her sensational, expressive voice as Liù, who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her unrequited love. Soprano Christine Goerke is a powerhouse as cold-as-ice Chinese Princess Turandot, leaving the walls of the Royal Opera House ringing.
Despite some Asian performers amid an otherwise white cast (including charismatic bass In Sung Sim as Liù’s father), this 1984 production is showing its age as yellowface predominates amid lurid, panto-esque costumes and masks, and oriental exoticism. A museum piece doesn’t seem to do justice to music this good. Nevertheless, decades later, this revival continues to hit all the right notes.