As temperatures rise in Sydney over summer, audiences will be treated to a cool change when Graeme Murphy’s bold vision of Puccini’s Turandot bursts back into the Joan Sutherland Theatre in mid January.
Murphy’s daring production for Puccini’s final opera is considered one of the ultimate classics in the Opera Australia repertoire. Featuring the director’s own famous choreography, sculptural stagecraft and larger than life costumes, this renowned staging of Turandot has transformed this already powerful drama into a spectacular piece of theatre.
Turandot is a beautiful and powerful princess, who challenges her many suitors to answer three riddles on pain of death. No one has ever succeeded. Calaf is a brave prince from a foreign land, who falls instantly in love with the princess. Despite the wishes of his exiled father and the pleas of a slave-girl who loves him, he rings the gong and declares his love for the princess.
She presents her riddles, and in triumph, the unknown prince answers. Turandot despairs and the prince takes pity – offering the ice-cold princess a riddle of his own. But Calaf’s riddle risks more than his own life – everyone else’s hangs in the balance.
After stunning audiences with her role debut in Opera Australia’s 2018 digital production of Aida, American powerhouse soprano Amber Wagner makes her triumphant return to Sydney to take on the role of the brutal Turandot.
Described as having “a voice that, used for evil, could bring down an army” (Sydney Morning Herald), Wagner is the perfect fit to play the impervious princess, and will be matched by Serbian soprano Dragana Radakovic who played the title role on Opera Australia’s Harbour stage in 2016 to great acclaim.
Wagner and Radakovic will be joined on stage by two equally talented singers sharing the role of Turandot’s suitor, Calàf – the brilliant Spanish tenor Andeka Gorrotxategi and international Korean sensation Yonghoon Lee.
Singing one of the most recognised tenor arias of all time – Nessun dorma which was popularised by the late great Luciano Pavarotti at the 1990 Football World Cup, Gorrotxategi and Lee will demonstrate why this powerful operatic showpiece has become such a global sensation.
Romanian-American Maestro Christian Badea, a favourite at The Met in New York, having conducted there more than 160 times, returns to Australia to unleash Puccini’s sensational score. Sharing the conductor’s baton with Badea is Opera Australia’s own Tahu Matheson, who will close the season.
A fantasy opera of poetry and myth, Turandot is set in an exotic world where fear and love go hand in hand and death is always just around the corner. Puccini buffs and first-time attendees alike will be transported to another world, captivated by Turandot’s powerful score, mesmerising staging and captivating story. This is a must-see opera, guaranteed to impress.
Born in Tuscany in 1858, Giacomo Puccini is an Italian composer who took Verdi’s crown as the most prominent composer of Italian opera in his day. Renowned for his love affairs, Puccini left a trail of broken hearts across Italy, but also left us 10 beautiful operas, three of which are regularly in the top 10 of operas performed around the world.
Conductors: Christian Badea, Tahu Matheson Director / Choreographer: Graeme Murphy Cast: Amber Wagner, Dragana Radakovic, Andeka Gorrotxategi, Yonghoon Lee, Mariana Hong, Richard Anderson, Christopher Hillier, Virgilio Marino, John Longmuir, Graeme Macfarlane, Andrew Moran, Leah Thomas, Katherine Wiles, Dean Bassett, Opera Australia Chorus, Sydney Children’s Choir, Opera Australia Orchestra Set and Costumes Designer: Kristian Fredrikson Lighting Designer: John Drummond Montgomery Revival Director: Kim Walker Assistant Director: Matthew Barclay
Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season: 15 January – 30 March 2019
For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Opera Australia’s 2015 production of Turandot – photo by Branco Gaica