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<<  -- 3 --  Robert Anderson    TERRIFYING INTENSITY

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Ping, Pang and Pong may be members of the imperial household (the last is Chief Chef), but they have hearts tender enough to join the Peking chorus in bewailing such endless executions [watch and listen -- 'O mondo' (Act 2), chapter 14, 42:03-43:12]. Despite the spectral manifestation of former Turandot suitors and display of the Persian's severed head, Calaf is determined on his apparently insensate plan. Even Graeme Macfarlane as the emperor, to whom the chorus wishes 10,000 years of life, bewails the situation and tries wearily to dissuade him [watch and listen -- 'Un giruamente atroce mi costringe' (Act 2), chapter 17, 52:25-53:35]. The elderly Altoum, gloriously caparisoned in his lofty station, seems fated to preside over the universal slaughter of all eligible sons-in-law.

Graeme Macfarlane as Altoum, Emperor of China, in Act II of Puccini's 'Turandot'. DVD screenshot © 2006 Opus Arte
Graeme Macfarlane as Altoum, Emperor of China, in Act II of Puccini's 'Turandot'. DVD screenshot © 2006 Opus Arte

At last Ealynn Voss's ice princess paints the background to her obsession and allows Puccini to celebrate her ruthless virginity in music designed to lure the most hesitant suitor [watch and listen -- 'In questa Reggia' (Act 2), chapter 19, 61:52-63:11]. Calaf guesses the riddles but offers to withdraw from a match that Turandot still finds insupportable if she can find out his name. The whole of Peking must now become insomniac in a frantic effort to reveal the singer's identity. Calaf sensibly diverts himself by celebrating the sleepless nights with the song that pleasantly diverted everyone at the last Olympic Games, where presumably not a word was understood [watch and listen -- 'Nessun dorma' (Act 3), chapter 24, 84:03-85:28].

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Copyright © 3 May 2006 Robert Anderson, London UK

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