Reviewer's Rating

All’alba vincero! Vincero! Vincero! After these last words of Puccinis world-famous aria “Nessun Dorma” you could hear the sound of 3000 people on their feet at latest then it was clear that the people didn’t come to this festival to see a modern interpretation of this opera by a stage director who wants to self-realize himself with drastic scenes. The people come here to honor Puccinis great music and especially for the ambience. It is a dream for every opera lover to enjoy such a masterpiece under a sky full of stars. And so it was no shame, that the director Alfonso Signorini brought the story of the cruel princess to life with a pompous stage design as well as very conventional costumes. The only problem was Signorinis personal direction who was very precise in the first act, but then it got lost, however, in runs of the piece. It ended up that in Turandot and Calafs big love scene the two singers were barely even looking at each other. Luckily the focus of the audience was on the whole work of art that Signorini could still tell the story of the princess, who kills every prince who is unable to solve her riddles, credible. I assume that in a closed theater it would have been much harder for such a conventional stage direction to convince and move an audience.

The good ambience played one of the main roles and so it was no shame if a musician wasn’t always completely rhythmical precise or a singers note wasn’t that clear. One have to say, that it was hard for a singer with the acoustic circumstances in Torre del Lago to sing over such a big orchestra. Martina Serafin gave a very convincing and powerful Turandot. You could hear that her voice isn’t the youngest anymore but thanks to a brilliant breathing technique she managed the very difficult part with less effort than her colleague Amadi Lagha. He seemed very exhausted in his last duet with Princess Turandot, who finally started to love him after he solved all her riddles, but what Lagha did before was remarkable. His voice was still a bit young for the sophisticated part of Calaf, but he cooperated with the difficult acoustics perfectly and his high notes were so stunning that the audience gave him such a long standing ovation after Nessun Dorma, so he had to repeat it the aria (Welcome to Italy!). It’s those magic moments that stay in our heads and not Signorini’s personal direction, that make such an evening special. George Andguladze’s full baritone fitted the role of Calafs father Timur perfectly. The ministers Ping, Pang and Pong (Andrea Zaupa, Ugo Tarquini, Tiziano Barotini) loosed the gloomy mood of the world around Turandot up and sung their roles with much elan. The Orchestra del Festival Puccini played with so much love for the colors that Puccini mixed, when he created a sound world, which should secure the future of the Italian opera with the help of an invented ancient China, develop under the direction of Alberto Veronesi always irresistible charm. Especially where Puccini gave them thin, delicate, translucent, fragile. Where few instruments merge to unheard, mixes sparkle, unused sounds are created. Nevertheless, the calculation is not complete. Because of all the love for detail and the individual event, the dramatic flow is too often lost. Together with the phenomenal Coro del festival Puccini they surround the bloody story. And even if it wasn’t always perfect for example the two arias of Liu, which were sung by Angela De Lucia, who had big problems with her nervousness that it totally affected her breathing (The second aria was much better and she managed to concentrate again even if her high b flat in “Signore ascolta” cracked and the audience started laughing, a big compliment for that) you are totally overwhelmed when you leave this huge auditorium. Overwhelmed of all the emotions you have just experienced.