TURANDOT at Covent Garden

‘Colour, light and lavish fabrics dazzle the eye’ in a scene
from Turandot at the Royal Opera House

This was the first time I had attended a broadcast performance of an opera in a cinema. I was not sure what to expect as I am a regular opera-goer and lover of the art form. What I love about opera is that it is an integrated art form which incorporates music, theatre, dance etc.

Happy to say that there was the same mix of people looking forward to an evening that would be enjoyable on many levels as you get at the actual opera.

This Royal Opera production is sumptuous – on a scale that Opera Australia can rarely achieve, not just because of the small size of the Sydney Opera House’s Opera Theatre and orchestra pit, but also the sponsorship required to stage a multi-million dollar production like this one!

As you would expect from the Royal Opera, the singers were fabulous and the production pretty well perfect. Naturally, everyone was waiting for the Nessum Dorma aria, and we were not disappointed. However, the singing, acting, dancing and stage set were all at an incredibly high level.

However, the extra bit that I really enjoyed is the one you do not get with a live performance – the back stage interviews. It was really interesting to hear the director talk about the production, the conductor talk about his approach to interpreting the music, the costume designer talk about what themes she drew on (Mediaeval Chinese in this case), and the choreographer talk about how she based the dances on Tai Chi movements.

The cinematic presentation of these performances is a different experience to that of live opera – but still incredibly moving and engaging. The ‘feel’ of the audience seemed reflected this too.

I would recommend attending one of these cinematic broadcasts of opera if you are:

a) an opera lover and cannot be in London, New York etc. to attend the live performance or want to check out different productions, hear new singers etc; or

b) You are a newcomer to opera and want to test out how you feel about the art form – at cinema prices, you can afford to do a good lot of testing!

The Royal Opera’s production of Andrei Serban’s staging of Puccini’s TURANDOT screened  from Covent Garden, London at Verona Cinema Paddington on Tuesday October 1, 2013 with further sessions on Friday October 4 at 11.30am, Saturday October 5 at 11.30am, Sunday October 6 at 12pm abd Wednesday October 9 at 11.30am.