My Mum and I went to the opera last Saturday - Turandot was showing at the Gaiety. The weather was miserable, but we managed to avoid the worst of the rain, as Brendan dropped us to the Luas terminus and we got a tram straight away. After a light dinner in a very noisy Wagamama's, we headed across the road to the Gaiety.
Turandot is a big classic - big show, big chorus, big orchestration, big singing - we all know Nessun Dorma from Pavarotti's rendition during the Italy World Cup, of course -, and it is absolutely gorgeous. The production we saw was very contemporary, making good use of the small stage at the Gaiety, with metal steps on which most of the action took place. The costumes were a mix of Mao's Revolutionary Guards and 1950's Shanghai lady. The lighting was perfect - I love the blue/turquoise light they use for night fall. Ping, Pang and Pong were great fun, with their main song sung on bicycles - they got a big cheer! Calaf was sung by a Chinese Tenor - he was excellent - good, strong voice despite having to stand on his tip-toes when hitting the hight notes (which I find a lot of the weaker tenors tend to do - this guy was not weak - he had a lovely rich voice). Turandot was played by an Italian soprano - she was the weakest link in the whole show - her singing was OK, if a bit metalic, but the way she opened her mouth was just too scary - all you could see was this big square mouth with big square teeth, and her acting was very stiff, I thought. The best in the whole show was the Japanese singer who played Liu, the slave girl who loves and saves Calaf. Her name is Mari Moriya - she had a gorgeous voice, and she put a lot of feeling in her performance - particularly her last scene, in which she grabs the red satin curtain which covers the whole back of the stage, she runs down the stairs and rolls herself into the curtain. One of the best opera moments I've seen!