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on 31 January 2017
This is a very fine production from that director of spectacle and splendour: the famed Franco Zeffirelli. The lead singers are magnificent both showing they are up to the considerable challenges. Placido Domingo's smooth yet powerful voice is compelling throughout. Not only did Eva Marton (as Turandot) cope well with the demanding vocals but her high acting standard provided double the delight . I would also highlight the considerable contribution provided by Leona Mitchell (as Liu) who gave her fine voice the plaintive quality required. The big highlight, of course, is 'Nessun Dorma' and Domingo's marvellous rendition greatly impressed.
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on 19 July 2017
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on 7 May 2008
Eva Marton is wonderful in the title role, both in acting and singing. Particulary in act 2 scene 2, where she subtly conveys the reactions she recalls in act 3. Watch her face when Calaf tries to kiss the hem of her robe. Placido Domingo is also effective, showing Calaf's arrogance and selfishness convincingly. Leona Mitchell is heartbreaking as Liu, her unrequited devotion shining through in her voice and acting.

The Mandarin makes the most of his moment, turning what is basically plot exposition into a rabble rousing speech designed to fire up the peasants while the Emperor is portrayed as being weighed down by guilt at allowing Turandot to make her terrible bargain.

The scenery is magnificent, from the crowded streets of Peking to the stark elegance of the palace garden at night. The most stunning moment is surely the first appearance of Turandot, making good use of the Metropolitan opera's impressive stage machinery. The costumes are also beautiful and look "right".

My only criticism of the presentation is the failure to show the Act 2 Scene 2 reveal as the audience would have seen it. And that's about as minor a quibble as you can get.
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on 22 August 2011
I have both the 1988 and 2009 met versions on DVD. Of course, the trick is to get to see the performances live, and for those lucky enough to do so, both performances will have seemed wonderful experiences.

The 2009 version, also with set design by the genius Franco Zeffirelli, is available in near-HD or Blu Ray. The colours and resolution are very much better and far less dark than the 1988 version and many of the supporting performers are equally good. For example, Ping, Pong and Pang (Hopkins, Stevenson and Valdes) appear the equal of the 1988 performers (Schexnayder, Glassman and Laciura).

The main advantage of the 2009 version is the high quality video which brings home just how ornate and beautiful Zeffirelli's production is. However, the singing by the main performers in the 1988 is a league above that of 2009. Eva Marton is quite outstanding and Domingo, if not quite at his very best, is very strong throughout. Both performers display high levels of acting to their roles and the closeups of Marton in particular, reveal subtleties which might be lost to the live audiences. In such company as these, the performances of Maria Guleghina and Marcello Giordani in the 2009 version start to pale. Marina Poplavskaya, surely a super star in the making, is impressive in the 2009 version, yet Leona Mitchell operates at an even higher level as Liu in 1988. Goodness, what talent was available in 1988.

Both performances are so entertaining in their own ways that I recommend both! Whilst the 2009 version contains some excellent treats for the eye, the 1988 is close to the highest quality singing ever heard on DVD. The 2008 version contains a wonderful set, brilliant costumes and dancing that even improves, albeit slightly, on Zeffirelli's 88 masterpiece. The quality of the 2008 film is also very substantially better. But if its singing you want on your DVD, the 1988 is the one to have.
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on 15 February 2007
When I first saw this production on VHS in 1994, I was really bowled over with the fine singing and acting from all the principals. James Levine and his MET Orchestra produced fine sound and sensative accompaniment and overall, this production really impressed me. I vowed that when it came out on DVD, I would be the first to get a copy. This was over 3 years ago! I watch this DVD repeatedly and I am still bowled over with the overall effect of the singing and staging. Eva Marton as Turandot has been superbly costumed and directed by Franco Zefferelli and to my ears, a fine Turandot. She owns the stage in Act 2 Scene 2 and her curtain call at the end of the opera is a well-deserved ovation! Domingo had a bit of an off night with this performance, but still manages to deliver the goods as Calaf. Leona Mitchell will make you cry with her singing as Liu and the rest of the cast is first rate! This will be a difficult choice amongst some people, however the only competition will be the 1983 Vienna Turandot with Harold Prince directing and Lorin Maazel conducting.
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on 3 May 2013
I will take a view of the artistes first. Paul Pushka as Timur has a rich throaty voice, quite good. Leona Mitchell a sweet voiced Liu, a close second to Barbara Fritoli at Beijing. Placido Domingo, well the voice of course is fine, but he sings to the audience rather than interacting with the other characters, he does not seem to be in the character, but in a dressed up concert. Cuenod the emporer is the best that I have heard, he does not unlike some other versions seem to have been given the role as a long service award. The three gentlemen wha are Ping,Pang and Pong are quite brilliant. There is something about these roles that brings out the best, in every version I have these characters are made the most of by the participants. Eva Marton blasts away at her first entry, but then moderates a bit, and does impart some feeling. She is better here that in the later San Francisco offering, but I prefer Guleghina who is still a bit overpowering. My favourite is Casolla from the forbidden city.
The staging is all well done, with the royal court absolutely gorgeous. Take particular note of the magnificent masks.
The handbook is excellent, There is a detailed aria listing, there are comprehensive articles on the history of the opera, and Puccinis problems. The synopsis is also detailed.
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on 23 September 2010
The opera lovers can't forget this inestimable DVD !
The best of Puccini with the wonderfull Eva Marton, powerfull Placido Domingos, Franco Zefirelli and James Levine, all to offer us pleasure hours.
The adjuvant cast works quite well, but especially Leona Mitchell as 'Liú' have an amazing voice and flawless technic !
The Metropolitan Chorus and Orchestra are both splendid, so I must finish my review with my title 'wonderfull masterpiece, magnificent perfomances'
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on 19 January 2011
Bought this because it had 5 star reviews and they are usually very accurate --This had WOW factor ! Liu was quite exceptionally good as of course was Placido Domingo ( I never expect anything else from him) but the surprise for me was Eva Marton.She has a big voice which is not always comfortable to hear,but her acting ability was remarkably good and she subtly managed to put humanity into a difficult role,showing cruelty , confusion and eventually understanding and love- very impressive.The production is lovely with extravagant costumes which I loved.I shall take pleasure in seeing this again and again.
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on 2 July 2015
After reading all the glowing reviews on this DVD I am very disappointed with it. I know there are no 17 year old divas, but Eva Marton really stretches the imagination. Added to this is her screechy voice and wooden acting. The only really good thing about the recording is Leona Mitchell's lovely singing and acting.
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on 16 November 2013
Puccini's Turandot is one of my favourite operas, but rarely I find a dazzling production with excellent performers. This performance is one of them. Firstly, Zeffirelli's production is the best production ever made for Turandot, with awesome settings and costumes by any aspect. Secondly, the performers are amazing; Eva Marton is the best Turandot I have ever seen and heard (both on CD and DVD) and Placido Domingo is a great Calaf. Leona Mitchell is a wonderful Liu -because of her magical singing and acting . The Metropolitan Chorus sings with so much intensity and passion the choruses and James Levine conducts so good! So, if you're an Opera fan this is an essential you musn't miss!
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