Dayton Opera & Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra
Sun, May 20, 8pm • Schuster Center
Early estimated running time 3:00 • Drop date 4/17
Turandot is Puccini’s final opera (unfinished at his death) and perhaps as a result, it is by far and away his most musically adventurous. As in Madama Butterfly, the score is filled with Asian touches, the percussion section in particular packed with gongs and various tuned instruments (xylophones, glockenspiels and the like). It is still, however, an Italian opera with the outrageously titled Ping, Pang and Pong a spin on classic Commedia dell’arte characters.
It’s an opera that blends epic chorus passages with some brilliantly intimate moments. Indeed the chorus plays a much more significant role than in Puccini’s other operas, acting as an onstage witness to well over half of the action. The opening is a powerful series of five chords, said to musically depict an executioner’s axe falling, and that hair-raising effect is spectacularly well maintained throughout.
Turandot also contains arguably the most famous tenor aria in all of opera, “Nessun Dorma”, an instantly recognizable piece of music that has lost its dark meaning by being repeatedly considered out of context.
The finale from Puccini’s Turandot, from the Met’s “Live in HD” series