Turandot on Sydney Harbour, CinemaLive and Opera Australia, South Holland Centre, Spalding
Pre-Communist China under the Qing/Manchu dynasty where beautiful but tortured ice princess Turandot routinely puts her suitors to death for failing to solve her riddles.
Puccini’s Turandot, expertly modernised by Handa Opera for the setting of Sydney Harbour, features the most famous song in opera, Nessun Dorma (“Nobody shall sleep”) as Turandot loses her heart to “foreigner” prince Calaf.
He leaves plenty of collateral damage in his wake for Turandot, sung with relish by Serbian soprano Dragana Radakovic whose home city of Novi Sad also gave birth to tennis star Monica Seles.
Calaf wins Turandot over with a combination of guile, bravery and sheer obsession with his bride-to-be in an opera conducted by Brian Castles-Onion and featuring a spellbinding, “Best Supporting Actress” performance from South Korean soloist Hyeseoung Kwon as ill-fated slave girl Liu.
An episode of Inspector Morse, Promised Land, took the cultured detective to Australia and ended with the late John Thaw walking towards Sydney Opera House to watch a performance by famed Australian soprano Dame Joan Sutherland as Turandot.
No doubt it was something to savour like Turandot on Sydney Harbour was.
Review by Winston Brown
With a cast of 78, a 60-metre fire-breathing dragon whose tail morphs into the Great Wall of China and an 18-meter tall pagoda, the set itself becomes a true feast for the eyesOpera Australia