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Paul Turok
Turok’s Choice, March 2010

Puccini’s Turandot was beautifully produced by the San Francisco Opera in 1994 (100 089). The performance, led by Donald Runnicles, was not quite up to the production. Eva Marton, in the title role, is competent but doesn’t make it sound easy. Michael Sylvester (Calaf) belts it out ably, but his voice has somewhat of a metallic edge. Lucia Mazzaria (Liù) rises to her suicide scene in Act III—some of Puccini’s best music—but often seems a bit off in intonation. Toscanini, leading the first performance, stopped right after she stabs herself, announced that Puccini died at that point and ended the performance. He never conducted the work again. Often, here as well, Alfano’s patchy ending is tacked on. The only competing completion, seldom used, is by Berio. It is more intimate, which fits the love dialog between Calaf and Turandot, but it is doubtful that Puccini would have approved of its lowkeyed values. Excellent video, and very good sound even if it is only PCM Stereo.

Bart Verhaeghe
Fanfare, November 2009

David Hockney, the famous British pop artist, created a very colorful world. It reminds us of his paintings, which are full of expressive strong colors. Hockney uses the entire stage to create depth and height in the environment (the city walls and gates are especially well done).

…Kevin Langan as Timur and Lucia Mazzaria as Liù do a wonderful job. Especially Langan sings with conviction, power, and intensity. …The best part of this release is the orchestra, which is well balanced and sensitive. Donald Runnicles holds his players tight, to allow enough space for the singers. In the tutti passages however, he allows them to give all they have. © 2009 Fanfare Read complete review

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