In Puccini’s opera, Princess Turandot has sworn never to marry any man unless he can correctly answer her three riddles. Captivated by her beauty, the unknown Prince Calàf takes up the challenge, well aware that the untouchable ice princess has issued an ultimatum: anyone who tries and fails must die.
The opera includes famous arias such as “Signore, ascolta”, sung by the servant Liù as she tries to stop Prince Calàf from throwing himself away in Turandot’s perilous challenge, and the Prince’s beautiful “Nessun dorma”, as he looks forward to winning the princess’s hand.
In director Andreas Homoki’s production, we do not encounter a classical, folkloric China, but instead a modern fairy tale where screens are functioning as storytellers and camera lenses represent the gaze of power. However, the potential brutal encounters between the individual and the demands of the masses are still the same. An open question
The penultimate scene in Turandot was the last Puccini wrote before travelling to a clinic in Brussels, where he died after a cancer operation in 1924. The opera was completed two years later by Franco Alfano. During the premiere at La Scala Milan in 1926, conductor Arturo Toscanini laid down his baton in the middle of the third act, turning to the public to say: “At this point, the maestro died.” This is after Liù has sung “Tu che di gel sei cinta” (“You who are begirdled by ice”) to Turandot. Immediately afterward, Liù kills herself.
We are performing the incomplete version of Turandot, which ends with the death of Liù – and of Puccini. When we do not know whether the prince and princess end up together, the story ends as an unanswered question.
Co-production with Semperoper Dresden
- Premiere discussion one week before the premiere
- Free introduction one hour before the performance
GALLERY (Photos Copyright Den Norsk opera)
‘Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs … certainly was [Salome’s] highlight. Her vocal splendor and strength were Salome worthy and she often formed the merciless role with beautiful bel canto singing.’
A brilliant interpreter of the most demanding roles on the operatic and concert stage, this past season has seen Elizabeth Blancke Biggs as Salome in Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, as soloist in the Verdi Requiem, also in Mexico City with Mo. Carlos Miguel Prieto, At New York’s Lincoln Center for the Rossini Stabat Mater and the Dvorak Te Deum, Verdi’s Nabucco at the Teatro Nacional di Costa Rica, and La Traviata in Argentina. Last season she was the featured artist opening the Verdi Bicentennial Concerts at Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, followed by her critically acclaimed role and house debut in Strauss’ Salome at den Norske Opern in Stefan Herheim’s reprise of his Salzburg production. She then appeared under the baton of Lorin Maazel as Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West at his Castleton International Festival, and as Verdi’s Lady Macbeth at Montevideo’s Teatro Solis.
She was heard worldwide in the Sirius Satellite Radio Metropolitan Opera Broadcast of Puccini’s Tosca with tenor Marcello Giordani, as Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West under the direction of Bruno Bartoletti at Palermo’s Teatro Massimo, and as Verdi’s Lady Macbeth at Santiago, Chile’s Teatro Municipal.
Elizabeth is becoming recognized as one of the most exciting lirico-spinto sopranos on the international scene today. Critics have praised her virtuosic bel canto technique, the beauty of her voice, her pyrotechnic coloratura, and her unerring theatricality. Hailed as one of the best young Verdi singers by Placido Domingo, she appeared with him at the Washington National Opera as Giordani’s Fedora in a gala performance. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Violetta in the Zeffirelli production of Verdi’s La Traviata under the baton of Marcello Viotti with Lado Ataneli as Germont, and her Italian debut was the title role in Jonathan Miller’s production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda at Torino’s Teatro Regio, conducted by Evelino Pidó. In South America she was Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco for Chile’s Teatro Municipal, with Maurizio Benini. In London she appeared as Bellini’s Norma and Puccini’s Fanciulla del West for Opera Holland Park. She was seen as Minnie in La Fanciulla del West, for Florida Grand Opera with Anthony Michaels-Moore as Rance, and where one reviewer said “… [her] rapturous sound literally enveloped the stage. A flamboyant, charismatic stage presence.” She returned to FGO to sing a critically acclaimed Tosca. She reprised Abigaille in Nabucco for the Aspendos Festival at the 15,000 seat Roman amphitheater in Antalya, Turkey, and was featured in a new production of Aida at Opera Omaha and Norma for Palm Beach Opera with Ruth Ann Swenson as Adalgisa. For the New York City Opera she was seen as both Tosca and Mimì in La Bohème. Her most recent appearances in Palermo’s Teatro Massimo (La Fanciulla del West,) Bologna’s Teatro Comunale, Chile’s Teatro Municipal (Lady Macbeth) and the Welsh National Opera Gala (Fedora) were all critically acclaimed.