Turandot Magical at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

It took 30 years, but Giacomo Puccini's Turandot finally made another successful and phantasmagorical splash-down at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for Los Angeles Opera.

The production was boosted by artist David Hockney's scenery brilliance and Ian Falconer's lush costume design. Hockney hit a home run with his color choices, paintings and shapes as it relates to Chinese-themed designs.

And leading the way was conductor James Conlon who is a veteran of Puccini operas. Turandot is his 200th performance milestone conducting Puccini. And Conlon did it with great intuitiveness, energy and passion. He goes to great depths in his interpretations.

The magnificent cast was capably and famously lead by soprano Angela Meade as Princess Turandot and tenor Russell Thomas as her admirer Prince Calaf. Another bright spot of the production was the performance of Chinese soprano Guanqun Yu as Liu who has a sweet-sounding voice.

Both Meade and Thomas have powerful voices and a larger-than-life stage presence. Their voices easily resonated up into the last row of the balcony. Even without any amplification, their voices would have raised the roof. Their chemistry on stage was colossal.

Thomas' rendition of Nessun dorma was very impressive. When he hit the high notes, I'm sure that Pavarotti was smiling down from the heavens.

The Chinese squires - Ping, Pang, and Pong - played by Ryan Wolfe, Terrence Chin-Loy, and Julius Ahn added both humor and insightfulness to the production.

And Morris Robinson (Timur) has a booming bass voice.

Turandot requires a massive chorus to sing the choral pieces and they were very well-prepared.

At the end of the performance, one felt that the production was a feast for the eyes and the ears.


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