Opening night of the opera is splendid event. Everyone dresses up in a most lavish manner, and there are flowers everywhere. This year red roses decorated the boxes and filled enormous vases in the halls. I spent a half hour before the performance and both the intermissions simply gaping and tittering at all the splendid gowns and so forth. I particularly liked a muted gold gown that resembled an egg carton, but more pointy. I laughed every time the lady who wore it came within my view, which probably was extremely rude, but I really could not help myself.
Turandot is not my favorite opera, and Puccini is not my favorite composer of operas. For one thing, Puccini's overtures are incredibly quick affairs that only confuse me, and Turandot's were no exception. The set design and costume design of this production was absolutely lurid, perhaps because of the oriental aspect of the setting. The backgrounds that were meant to look faux Chinese were very flat and not unlike paper cut-outs. Everything was very red and green and pink. There were absurd death heads hanging from rafters above in the first act that were a special annoyance to me for some reason.
Nonetheless, the singing was very good. Jane Eaglen (Turandot), Patricia Racette (Liù), and Jon Villars (Calaf) all had gorgeous voices. I found the music for Ping, Pang, and Pong rather adorable, and Hernan Iturralde, Jonathan Boyd, and Felipe Rojas did a fine job with the choreography, acting, and singing. They had a good dynamic together.
The libretto is full of holes. In this production Turandot intially looked quite joyed by Calaf's correct answer to her last riddle, and then frightened and enraged only later, which seems like an attempt to make her change of heart in the end more plausible.
I liked the acrobats. This was something that simply thrilled my blood.