Kulturkompasset | critics of culture events

Turandot in Napoli

I’ve seen better productions of Turandot.

Review by Synnøve Nord

TURANDOT in Teatro San Carlo, Napoli

TURANDOT in Teatro San Carlo, Napoli

NAPOLI/ITALY: Opera by Giuseppe Verdi at Theatro San Carlo in Napoli.

This staging revives a 2008 production for the Petruzzelli theatre in Bari, conveys the splendour of the Peking court, through the static solemnity of a stony staircase where the main events develop as pompous pageants. It evokes a fabulous out-of-time China, and accompanies perfectly the majesty of Puccini’s last and unfinished opera.

With its beautiful and austere music, Turandot, contains all the elements of great opera, and has the advantage of being visually spectacular, as well as it is familiar to many, mostly for “Nessun dorma,” the tenor aria in the third act. – A real show piece. Our evening sung by  Marcello Giordani as Calaf, but his “Nessun dorma” became unfortunately not a hit.

As known Giacomo Puccini´s score abruptly finishes after the choir sings the death of Liù, and it was completed by Franco Alfano with the final duet and scene where Turandot’s heart melts and love triumphs: – this is the version which is usually performed. However in this San Carlo production, director Roberto De Simone decided to end where Puccini had gotten, without the added finale.

Turandot in Teatro San Carlo, Napoli

Turandot in Teatro San Carlo, Napoli

Though uncommon, this seemed quite an appropriate choice, as it renders the story more coherent: also, some like to think that perhaps Puccini never finished the opera because, he felt the happy ending was not the right dramatic solution to the cold-bloodedness of Turandot and the violent death for love of Liù.

The costumes that the choir had, inspired by terracotta warriors from China, was great. They also had some such sculptures in giant size placed on the stage. Jennifer Wilson sang clear, but was no particular living “figure” on stage. Besides, her two outfits tedious and unbecoming.

Riccardo Zannelato was reasonably good som Timur. The same was Marcello Giordani as Calaf, but his “Nessun dorma” was unfortunately not a hit. Carlo Ventre will certainly do a better Calaf.  Eleonora Buratto as Liu was the best of the soloists. She also got tremendous applause. Otherwise premiere audience seemed less enthusiastic.

Turandot in Teatro San Carlo, Napoli

Turandot in Teatro San Carlo, Napoli

However the Chinese elements of staging and costumes were as said boring compared to Zeffirelli‘s auspices in Verona. Where there is more gold, silk and grandeur. But of course there is a difference on a large outdoor stage as the Arena di Verona and a theatre as San Carlo. The ending was very tame.

The theater, as such, is of course a cultural gem. We sat in the balcony in cubicles there, put enough more painful than those in good seats in the audience. But the audience that I had contact with, said the experience was magnifik.


TURANDOT.  Jennifer Wilson, debuted in Turandot role in 2002. She has too many Wagnerian roles in her repertoire.

TIMUR. Riccardo Zanellato sang at the premiere. He has sung Nabucco in Copenhagen and has guested Arena di Verona in several years, also this year.

CALAF. Marcello Giordani, born in 1963, sang at the premiere. The voice was ok, but probably a bit too weak including Nessun dorma. There were pale interpretation in my opinion. Giordani has operations across the world, including in New York. He has been visiting Verona for years. Carlo Ventre is sharing the role as Calaf with Giordani..

LIU. Eleonora Buratti (born 1982 in Mantova) has studied under Pavarotti. She was brilliant.

PING, PANG and PONG. Ping: Enrico Marrucci, Pang: Cristiano Olivieri, Pong: Massimiliano Chiarolla. They managed their roles well. But neither there costumes were so great that I could wanted.

COSTUMES: Odette Nicoletti,  has studied in Naples and also taught history and technique in costume subject. She has collaborated with director Roberto de Simone several times before. Inspiration from terracotta figurines she used also by staging Turandot in 2008.

First time in January 1927 (18 performances). The last time in June 2008 (6 performances). March / April 2015-7 performances.

REGI. Roberto de Simone (born 1933 in Naples). He has been a director, musician and composer, and has been artistic director of the Teatro San Carlo.

CONDUCTOR. Juraj Valchua (born 1976 in Slovakia). He’s the boss For Symphony Orchestra RAI Turin. This is his first assignment as an opera conductor.

CHOIR. The large chorus, led by Marco Faelli, sounded great,


Libretto di Giuseppe Adami e Renato Simoni
Musica di Giacomo Puccini

Direttore: Juraj Valčuha / Maurizio Agostini (31 marzo e 1 aprile)
Maestro del Coro: Marco Faelli
Maestro del coro di voci bianche: Stefania Rinaldi
Regia: Roberto De Simone ripresa da Mariano Bauduin
Scene: Nicola Rubertelli
Costumi: Odette Nicoletti


Turandot: Jennifer Wilson (21, 27, 29 e 31 marzo) / Elena Pankratova (22, 26, 28 marzo e 1 aprile)
Timur: Riccardo Zanellato (21, 22, 26, 28 e 29 marzo) / Michail Rissov (27, 31 marzo e 1 aprile )
Calaf: Marcello Giordani (21 e 31 marzo) / Carlo Ventre (26 marzo e 1 aprile) / Dario Di Vietri (22, 27, 28 marzo) / Stefano La Colla (29 marzo)
Liú: Eleonora Buratto (21, 27, 29 e 31 marzo) / Carmen Giannattasio (22, 26, 28 marzo e 1 aprile)
Ping: Enrico Marrucci
Pang: Cristiano Olivieri
Pong: Massimiliano Chiarolla

Orchestra, Coro e Coro di Voci Bianche del Teatro di San Carlo
Allestimento del Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari

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