Opera in NYC: Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera

Opera in NYC: Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera

Grand spectacle of legendary tale of pride, revenge, and love

Opera Turandot at Metropolitan Opera Lincoln Center NYC
Turandot poster by Mushii, 1926 via Wikimedia Commons

The timeless story of a cold and proud Chinese princess claiming her superiority over every contender for her heart is richly staged in this historic Franco Zefferelli  production from 1987 of the last masterpiece by Giacomo Puccini. The cast at the Met Opera includes Oksana Dyka and Martina Serafin in the title role, Marcelo Alvarez as Prince Calaf with Carlo Rizzi and Marco Armiliato conducting. Opulent orchestration, inclusion of the uncommon musical instruments in the score, innovative use of chorus and ballet are all part of this grand spectacle of pride, revenge, and love.

The creation of this opera is a tale in itself. Puccini first came across this subject after reading F. Schiller’s translation into German of Carlo Gozzi’s  play with the same title. Gozzi’s play, in turn, was based on one of “The Seven Beauties” fables by Nizami, 12th-century Persian poet renowned for his narrative poems and lyrical verses. “The Seven Beauties” plot ties together time (days of the week), colors (each story is given a color) and action. The cold and independent daughter of a king of Turan, Turandokht, was the story of the first day told under the red dome. Another version has it that Gozzi’s play Turandot was inspired by the fairy tales Les Mille et un Jours (1722) by François Pétis de la Croix  from the original version in Persian. 

Opera Turandot at Metropolitan Opera Lincoln Center NYC
Marcelo Álvarez as Calàf in Puccini’s Turandot. Photo by Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

But it doesn’t stop there. When Puccini started his work on the opera in 1920, he received a Chinese music box as a gift from Italy’s former ambassador to China. The box played several Chinese songs three of which were included in the score of the opera and ultimately transformed the action to a legend time China. It is not surprising that the leitmotif for Turandot is the folk melody “Mo Li Hua“.

Puccini was so immersed in this project that his librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni  couldn’t keep up and were behind with the text. By March 1924 the score was almost completed up to the finale. But Puccini wasn’t happy with the verses for the final duet so the librettists continued writing until October of that year. Puccini’s sudden death from a heart attack on November 29, 1924, left the music unfinished and was eventually completed by an Italian composer Franco Alfano. The premiere took place at La Scala, Milan, on Sunday 25 April 1926.

Starting from 1926 Turandot is successfully performed at every opera house around the world. In China, the opera has entered the regular repertoire only in 1998 when it was performed for the first time under the title of Turandot at the Forbidden City.
The third act of the opera starts with Nessun Dorma, one of the most recognizable arias memorably popularized by Luciano Pavarotti among other artists. While an unforgettable recording of Turandot with Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti with Zubin Mehta conducting is available, nothing can beat the live performance at the Met Opera!

With the NewYorkPass your can enjoy a free tour of the historic Lincoln Center and much more.

 

 

Opera Turandot at Metropolitan Opera Lincoln Center NYC
Oksana Dyka in the title role of Puccini’s “Turandot.”
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

 

 

Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3:  

Saturday, October 21,                                       

Wednesday, October 25,                                   

Saturday, October 28,                                   

Tuesday, October 31,                                   

Saturday, November 04,                                   

Wednesday, November 08,                                   

Saturday, November 11,                                   

Thursday, November 16,                                   

Wednesday, March 21,                                    

Saturday, March, 24,                                   

Wednesday, March 28,                                   

Saturday, March 31,                                   

Thursday, April 05

 

Venue: Met Opera, Lincoln Center, NY       

Dance in NYC: Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at White Light Festival

Dance in NYC: Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at White Light Festival

Jessica Lang Dance with Orchestra of St. Luke’s in Stabat Mater on November 1-2, 2017

Pergolesi's Stabat Mater at Lincoln Center White Light Festival in NY
Jessica Lang’s production of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater / Photo credit: Karli Cadel / Image courtesy of Glimmerglass Festival

White Light Festival presents a New York premiere of Jessica Lang Dance company production of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater on November 1-2, 2017. This year the festival is focusing on faith and its humanistic inspirations. Sacred music of Psalms is a perfect medium to highlight the sorrow, compassion, and hope for redemption and peace. Pergolesi’s delicate and sensitive music in Stabat Mater is being masterfully combined with the fluidity and lightness of movements by Jessica Lang’s dancers.

Pergolesi was born Giovanni Battista Draghi in Jesi, Italy which at the time was part of Papal States. Because his family was originally from Pergola, he was given a nickname of Pergolesi which was a common practice at the time.

Pergolesi's Stabat Mater at Lincoln Center White Light Festival in NY
Counter Tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo performing in Jessica Lang’s production of Stabat Mater / Photo credit: Karli Cadel / Image courtesy of Glimmerglass Festival

Pergolesi is best known for his sacred opus Stabat Mater which was finished in 1736 right before the composer’s death from tuberculosis at age 26. The piece was written for an annual meditation on Good Friday in honor of the Virgin Mary. Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater had replaced the score by A. Scarlatti. Sacred psalms were not the only musical genre favored by the composer. Pergolesi’s operatic works made strong influence on his contemporaries and helped to establish the wide popularity of opera buffa. His operas were performed in Naples, Rome as well as Paris where they resulted in some tensions between those who preferred a more serious style over the new winds of theatrical productions.

Pergolesi's Stabat Mater at Lincoln Center White Light Festival in NY The original music score for Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater was composed for soprano and alto soloists, violin I and II, viola and basso continuo (cello and organ). The recoding by London Symphony Orchestra with Claudio Abbado conducting is considered a staple of the sacred music genre.

So powerful is the music of Pergolesi that it made a place for itself in the modern world of movies and films. One of them, Farinelli (1994), a highly acclaimed Italian/French movie, was awarded the best foreign language film at the Golden Globe in 1995 and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category.

Jessica Lang and her dance company had premiered this production of Stabat Mater at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in 2013. The lightness of the company dancers’ movements and the melting of gestures to the music are the hallmarks of this company style. They blend incredibly well with the delicate voices carrying the melody making a natural extension of the music projecting it into space. 
New York City Pass

White Light Festival is being presented by the Lincoln Center. With the NewYorkPass your can enjoy a free tour of the historic Lincoln Center and much more. The New York Times calls the White Light Festival “the psalms bonanza” presenting “a dozen concerts featuring 1,000 years of music by composers including Bach, Handel, Telemann and Arvo Pärt”.

Book your tickets here.

VenueRose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, NY

Dates: November 1-2, 2017

 

 

Music in NYC: Marc-Andre Hamelin at Carnegie Hall

Music in NYC: Marc-Andre Hamelin at Carnegie Hall

Keyboard Virtuoso Exploring the Music of Romantic Masters

Piano recital Marc-Andre Hamelin Carnegie Hall November 2017
Marc-André Hamelin; Photo credit Sim Canetti-Clarke / Image courtesy of Carnegie Hall

Marc-Andre Hamelin returns to Carnegie Hall this Fall with an exciting and evocative program of Liszt, Feinberg, Debussy and Godowsky. The recital on November 1, 2017 at Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium will feature the compositions by the well-known and lesser so yet equally formidable composers. That music has to be brought to the wide public and Hamelin is in the best position for the task.

By now the music fans are already expecting an exploration of the treasure trove of half-forgotten compositions at Hamelin’s performances. As a WBUR.org review  notes “he unearths, polishes and returns forgotten talent to prominence”. And the program on November 1 will not disappoint. Knowing the musician’s sensible touch and technical virtuosity, the music will surprise and delight at the same time.

Piano recital Marc-Andre Hamelin Carnegie Hall November 2017
Carnegie Hall; photo credit Jeff Goldberg / Esto / Image courtesy of Carnegie Hall

Marc-Andre Hamelin whose fame grows with each performance, is not only a brilliant pianist, but is a well-known composer. It’s extremely fascinating to hear music by the composer himself, which Mr. Hamelin sometimes includes in the encores at his concerts. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune the musician shared his believe that composing brings one closer to understanding how “each composer translated his thoughts into that notation”.

Hamelin records with Hyperion label and his discography by now counts more than 70 albums. His latest album Feldman: For Bunita Markus was released in July, 2017.  For his superior recordings he was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in June 2015.

His appearance at Carnegie Hall last year at the Two Pianos concert with Leif Ove Andsnes was given rave reviews.

Piano recital Marc-Andre Hamelin Carnegie Hall November 2017With the NewYorkPass your can enjoy a free tour of the historic Carnegie Hall and much more.

Book your tickets with discount code TICKETS3 here.

Date: November 1, 2017

Venue: Carnegie Hall, 57th Street, NY      Directions to Carnegie Hall