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Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, December 2017

Recorded live in the China National Centre for the Performing Arts Beijing, with a cast of native Chinese, who show how they have accommodated to European operatic culture, magnificently so in this opera at least. © 2017 MusicWeb International

Charles H Parsons
American Record Guide, May 2017

All of the singers have assimilated the grand opera traditional style of singing. Yuqiang (Calaf) is particularly dramatic, a barrel of tenor squillo and gesture. There is a richly sung, dignified Timur. Hong’s Liu is notable for her exquisite sustained pianissimos and a tendency to keep her eyes on the conductor. The trio of masques are a hearty, comic lot.

Sun Xiuwei is a strikingly beautiful woman and accomplished actress; her facial expressions reveal a depth of personality rarely seen. …She hits all the notes with ease, but with a raw, edgy sound. Naiqi’s Emperor is more of a vocal actor than many another.

The only Westerner in the production is conductor Daniel Oren. He draws from his Chinese chorus and orchestra a savage, thrilling performance. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Bill White
Fanfare, May 2017

…the dancing is very fine here, almost ballet-like in execution. …the well-rehearsed children’s chorus adds greatly to the oriental effect.

The NCPA has taken care to staff the opera with nearly all Chinese participants including the primary singers, of which there can’t be that many trained in Western opera. But we are probably getting here the best they have, and it is pretty good. Dai Yuqiang, the tenor Calaf, was a student with Pavarotti. You can tell he isn’t Italian, but he can sing like an Italian. The soprano Turandot, Sun Xiuwei, is perhaps China’s most famous Western singer. Since her acclaimed role debut under Plácido Domingo in Washington D.C. she has sung Turandot many times in the West, and is also a sought-after Madama Butterfly. The other Chinese principals have all had experience in Western opera houses as well. Youthful energy seems to be a hallmark of the NCPA orchestra and chorus, but they both sound very good and are both populated by consummate musicians. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, April 2017

Dai Yuqiang as Calaf could bring a little more animation to his upright acted interpretation, whilst his lyric toned tenor rises to every vocal challenge, including the concluding high note in Nessun Dorma, without transposition down by a semi tone or more, as was not uncommon among certain Italianate tenors in some concert performances. In the title role, Sun Xiuwei is vocally stretched once or twice and could be a little warmer of tone, although she acts her part well. …Tian Haojiang is sonorous as Emperor Altoum and acts well whilst Ping, Pong and Pang, in their opulent costumes, are excellent in their acted and sung assumptions.

On the rostrum Daniel Oren, who had earlier taken the Musical Directorship at Guangzhou, brought dynamic climaxes and drama where appropriate, whilst doing justice to Puccini and Alfano. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Mark Mandel
Opera News, March 2017

The virile Yuqiang Dai excitingly sings the Unknown Prince. He’s fun to watch: at each ringing high note, he bends his knees then jerks upward, as if literally launching it. While not ideally inward and dreamy, his forthright “Nessun dorma” is clarion and beautiful. His most arresting moment is the climax of the riddle scene, which owners of this disc will replay often and sit friends down to see and hear.

Dai’s partner in fortissimo high Cs is Xiuwei Sun, a strikingly vulnerable Turandot. Far from an ice princess, she could be Liù’s highborn half-sister. …Sun has an affecting, tear-in-the-voice timbre and belies the canard that Turandot is unsympathetic.

The young NCPA chorus is good; the orchestra is excellent. Oren’s episodic Act I doesn’t build persuasively, but the climaxes of the later acts are unsubtle and splendid. © 2017 Opera News Read complete review

Robert Benson, November 2016

The Chinese singers generally are excellent, …Conductor Oren keeps things moving at a fine pace, and he accents percussion, effective for this opera. © 2016 Read complete review

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