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       

Music in NYC: Andrea Bocelli at Madison Square Garden

Music in NYC: Andrea Bocelli at Madison Square Garden

Discounted Tickets to the Christmas-themed concerts on December 13 and December 14, 2017

Italian Opera Singer Andrea Bocelli Madison Square Garden New York CityAndrea Bocelli, an Italian classical and pop music singer returns to Madison Square Garden in New York City to celebrate the holidays with his fans and followers. Bocelli will be sharing a stage with the conductor Eugene Kohn, soprano Larisa Martinez, and guest artist Heather Headley.

Bocelli grew up in the village La Sterza in Tuscany, Italy just south of Pisa where his family had a farm. Andrea started playing music from age 6. He took piano lessons and later learned to play a flute, saxophone, drums among other instruments. At about the same age after listening to a record of Franco Corelli, he showed an interest in opera music. Starting from age 14 he began participating in the singing competitions which came to establish his fame and followers. A connection to Corelli continued with Andrea attending Corelli’s master class in Turin in 1986 and later taking private voice lessons with him.

While studying and graduating with Law degree from the University of Pisa, he continued to sing performing at the bars and making tape recordings. One such tape got the attention of Italian rock star Zuccherro  who in 1992 was holding a tape competition among tenors for the recording of his song Miserere. Bocelli’s tape recoding of Miserere was shared with the best known Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who got very impressed with Bocelli’s singing. Bocelli was invited to perform in duets at Zuccherro’s European tours. The duets from that tour including Miserere were released in 1994. That year the young singer became a sensation after winning a newcomer prize at Sanremo Music Festival. Pavarotti took a deep interest in Bocelli’s career and since then they sang in duets at multiple charity concerts around the world.
Italian Opera Singer Andrea Bocelli Madison Square Garden New York CityBocelli is recording prolifically. His discography already includes 16 operas, numerous collections of arias and songs and music videos. His latest opera recording, Aida, was released in 2016 after Turandot in 2015. It is interesting that the role of prince Calaf from Turandot was among Bocelli’s initial solo selections back in the early 1990s.

Italian Opera Singer Andrea Bocelli Madison Square Garden New York CityThe album Andrea Bocelli 2012 recording Opera: The Ultimate Collection includes the best arias by Verdi, Puccini, Bizet and others operatic masters.

The concert at Madison Square Garden will raise everyone’s holiday spirit and will surely include many Christmas classics and popular arias sang with utmost elegance and grace. With the NewYorkPass your can enjoy a free tour of the legendary MSG arena.

 

 

Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3:

December 13, 2017, 8pm 

December 14, 2017, 8pm 

Venue: Madison Square Garden, NY   

 

Beyond NY: Opera Dimitrij at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Beyond NY: Opera Dimitrij at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Antonin Dvorak’s Rarely Performed Masterwork 

Dvorak Opera Dimitrij at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Scene from Dimitrij; photo by Todd Norwood

This year Bard SummerScape is dedicated to the Romanticism in music and is celebrating ChopinAdding  Antonin Dvorak’s rarely staged operatic jewel Dimitrij  to the program makes a lot of sense as Dvorak is rightly considered to carry on Chopin’s Romantic tradition, and this complicated drama is well placed in the lineup celebrating Slavic roots and historic influences.

The opera brings back a murky history of Russian Tsars at the “time of troubles” at the beginning of 17th century. The story starts at exactly where Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” leaves off with the death of Tsar Boris and the dark times of uncertainty approaching. The plot of Dimitrij is centered around a young pretender to the throne who appears in Moscow surrounded by Polish nobles and claims to be Dimitrij. His quest to rule is validated when the widow of Ivan, The Terrible recognizes him as her long lost son attempting to avenge her own grievances with the rulers. But the secret is bound to be revealed with all the ambitions at play. The intrigues of the power struggle, society division in pledging loyalty to competing clans, conspiracy theories and treacherous deceptions are only amplified by gorgeous music and powerful choral renditions. Sounds too familiar? It might be because a drive for power is as universal as love and death. The director of this Dimitrij production Anne Bogart thinks that the subject is particularly relevant today.

In the words of the Boston Globe “Shakespeare could hardly have bettered” this tragic story. In fact the story was developed by a librettist Marie Cervikova-Riegrova who based it on an unfinished plot by F. Schiller’s Demetrius. It is also worth noting that apparently Dvorak, working on the opera in 1881-1882, was not familiar with Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” which was completed between 1868-1873 to A. Pushkin’s drama with the same title.

Beyond NY: Opera Dimitrij at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Fischer Center; Photo: Peter Aaron ’68/Esto

Bard SummerScape opera performance takes place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Art which is located on the campus of a picturesque Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Bard College is well known for its rigorous and diverse art education program and the best in class roster of summer performances in upstate NY. Only two hours away from hustle and bustle of New York City, the campus is sufficiently insulated for full concentration and study, yet affords a convenience of being accessible via train connection to the city.

The Richard B. Fisher Center is an architectural jewel in itself being designed by Frank Gehry and hosting a multitude of adventurous programs at the world class facilities.

Book the tickets for Dimitrij  here.

 

Venue: Richard B. Fisher Center, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Dates: July 28 & 30, August 2,4 & 6, 2017 

Places to eat around Bard College.