Seattle Opera kicks off its 2012/13 season this summer in blockbuster fashion with Turandot, Puccini's final masterpiece. Boasting "Nessun dorma," one of the world's most beloved arias, Turandot sweeps audiences away to a fairy-tale China ruled by a harsh princess. The prideful Turandot learns how to love when a life-or-death riddle game, a slave girl's sacrifice, and the passion in a prince's heart transform fear and hatred into hope. Turandot opens on Saturday, August 4, and runs for eight performances through Saturday, August 18.
"Turandot is beloved the world over for its great melodies, its memorable and thrilling arias," says Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera. "But with a great soprano for the title role, a dramatic tenor for Calaf, a classic Puccini soprano for Liù, and a production that both suggests the panoply of ancient China and subjects these psychologically fascinating characters to intense scrutiny, we hope to bring the story to life in a personal, theatrical way."
Asher Fisch, Principal Guest Conductor of Seattle Opera, leads his first non-German opera in Seattle. Previous Seattle Opera credits include Wagner's Parsifal, Lohengrin, Flying Dutchman, and Tristan und Isolde and Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. Of the Tristan und Isolde he conducted at Seattle Opera in 2010, R. M. Campbell wrote in The Gathering Note, "Fisch never disappoints in elucidating the music. His palette seems immense, his range of dynamic variation equally large. He has full command of the line, which never seems to end, and produces tremendous beauty of tone. He gets the best of this orchestra." Fisch will return to Seattle in the fall to conduct Beethoven'sFidelio, and, in summer 2013, Wagner's Ring.
On opening night, soprano Lori Phillips takes on the role of Turandot. Phillips, who made her Seattle Opera debut as Amelia in Un ballo in maschera in 2002, has sung Turandot in such cities as New York, Atlanta, Portland, Nashville, and Ottawa. Opera News praised her "huge voice, its rich colors and finely woven timbre ringing with luxurious warmth." Answering her riddles as Calaf is tenor Antonello Palombi. At Seattle Opera, Palombi most recently sang the role of Foresto in Verdi's Attila and has also starred as Manrico in Il trovatore, Radames inAida, and Canio in Pagliacci. For the Sunday matinee performances, August 5 and 12, soprano and former Seattle Opera Young ArtistMarcy Stonikas makes her role debut as Turandot, and tenor Luis Chapa-following up his company debut as Don José in last season'sCarmen-sings Calaf. Liù is sung by Georgian soprano Lina Tetriani (August 4, 11, 15, 17, and 18) and Italian soprano Grazia Doronzio(August 5m, 8, and 12m), both of whom are making their company debuts. The cast also features Peter Rose as Timur, Patrick Carfizzi as Ping, and Peter Kazaras as Emperor Altoum; Rose has sung Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier and Falstaff for Seattle Opera, Carfizzi sang Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville in 2010, and Kazaras, who is Artistic Director of the company's Young Artists Program, sang 13 roles in Seattle between his 1985 debut (Steva in Jen?fa) and his most recent vocal appearance (Loge in the 2005 Ring), and has directed six mainstage operas including this spring's Madama Butterfly.
This sumptuous production of Turandot, inspired by traditional Chinese iconography and numerology, is jointly owned by Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Utah Opera. The production marks the Seattle Opera debut of professional teamRenaud Doucet (Stage Director) and André Barbe (Set and Costume Designer); Guy Simard is the Lighting Designer. Built in Minnesota, the production first took the stage in Pittsburgh, where the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called it "a stunning, balanced production," and Opera News wrote, "the total effect is quite gorgeous."