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Subject: Re: Turandot
From: Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 8 Nov 2017 15:03:24 +0000

text/plain (79 lines)

I have to say that I consider Turandot by far the most horrifying opera 
in the canon--far more than Sweeney Todd (cannibalism and all). Turandot 
is a monster--which she wasn't in the earlier versions of the 
story--something that the work fails to realize. I do not care whether 
villains are punished in stories, but I do ask that their villainy be 
recognized, and not erased by pretty sets and crashing chords. Somehow, 
the ending of Turandot asks us to pretend that everything that happened 
before, including the torture and death of Liu (surely one of the most 
despicable scenes in opera) be somehow redeemed by the magic of "love." 
There is a misogyny and sadism present in much of Puccini's work that 
comes to full fruition in Turandot, but this central aspect of the opera 
is rarely noted. (I often wonder how Puccini would have set "Bluebeard's 

Is there another opera or musical that so little merits its "happy 
ending"? I think the only way the work should reasonably be performed 
today is as some sort of Brechtian satire--which would be in keeping 
with its commedia del'arte origins.

I do like much of the music, but hate myself for it.

------ Original Message ------
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 11/7/2017 10:48:55 AM
Subject: Re: Turandot

>Idia wrote (in part):
>“It's a masterpiece and I've often mused upon how the ending would have 
>been had Puccini
>lived to finish it.”
>Of course we can never fully or really know, but I’ll put in my annual 
>damnation of Toscanini
>for demanding Alfano shorten his original ending, which to this day is 
>still almost never
>heard.  The complete Alfano ending really opens up the opera, makes 
>more than just “hash”
>of the ending, and fleshes out the characters of Turandot and Calaf to 
>be slightly more than
>the cardboard cartoon fairy tale characters.  Turandot’s “melting” 
>makes far more sense
>when she’s given actual time to reflect and melt – and sing some lovely 
>music to, boot.
>Then there’s the case of the “end” of the finale – which, once heard 
>leaves the ending we
>know feeling just a bit in the dust.  It is the definition of a “sonic 
>spectacular” – even the
>orchestration is different, the crazy triple triplets (or whatever they 
>are) of the trumpets
>adding even more luster and brilliance to what we typically hear.  
>Additionally, Alfano,
>according to Puccini’s wishes, has Turandot and Calaf singing, their 
>voices rising - sailing
>above the massed forces instead of the usual them just standing around 
>looking on in
>For those who still aren’t familiar with it . . . get a load of this!
>  --------------------------------------------------

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