Preparing for Turandot
We have been preparing for our upcoming presentation of Puccini’s grandest of operas, Turandot. Due to the scope of the production, we’ve not only brought some of the cast to SLC early to get a running start at their blocking and added time for the Utah Opera Chorus but we also erected the complicated set in our rehearsal space (usually we simply use tape to create an outline of the set on the rehearsal room floor) for our entire rehearsal period. With nearly 100 people involved in some of the rehearsals, we are “busting at the seams.” Still it is an exciting process as this production utilizes a high level of choreography with not only the dancers but also with the chorus and cast. The result is quite exciting.
The production is the result of a co-production between the opera companies of Utah, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Cincinnati. It this cooperative effort we share the costs of this opera’s sets and costumes (which are higher than many other operas) and we have the chance to showcase the creative team of Renaud Doucet (the production’s director and choreographer) and André Barbe (designer of sets and costumes). Barbe-Doucet productions are some of the most sought after ones in Europe and North America today and I have looked for the opportunity to share one with our Utah audiences for the better part of a decade.
In our cast we have several notable debuts…specifically in the protagonist roles of Calaf, Liu, Timur and Turandot … together representing three nationalities. Maida Hundeling of Germany is making her U.S. debut in this production and will thrill us all in one of the most difficult roles in all of opera.
It is a spectacle any time an opera company mounts a production of Turandot and in this presentation Utah Opera raises the bar with this particular production. I promise we will be talking about this one for years to come.