Turandot, Metropolitan Opera, New York
By Martin Bernheimer
Published: January 5 2005 02:00 | Last updated: January 5 2005 02:00
Turandot remains a prime tourist attraction at the Met, lock, stock and chinoiserie. Even after 17 years, gasping crowds muster ovations for the scenery in Franco Zeffirelli's kitsch orgy. Monday night some rubes actually popped flash cameras mid-opera. In any case, it was hard to take Puccini's rambling, rumbling and ultimately wondrous valediction very seriously.
Adding to the extramusical brouhaha was the would-be diva cast as the titular ice princess. In the current Opera News magazine Andrea Gruber boldly discusses past battles with drug addiction, not to mention an obesity problem solved with gastric-bypass surgery. The New York Times echoed the interview on the day of the performance. Under the circumstances, one hoped her interpretation of this fiercely demanding role would provide an artistic counterbalance to the sensationalism. Unfortunately she seldom rose above respectable competence. . . .
Most impressive among the secondary players was Krassimira Stoyanova, a sympathetic Liu who floated lovely pianissimo tones offset by occasionally strident fortes.
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