The audience applauded the scenery in Act two, Turandot’s golden palace emerging as if by magic from the darkness: wonderful coup de theatre, a moment still effective in this now venerable production.
Zeffirelli’s treatment is his usual: opera aiming to compete with film for possibilities of spectacle, this Turandot aiming to feast the eye at least, as Puccini tickles the ear (for me, Turandot will never nourish the soul as his Boheme might). The whole thing feels late 1960s epic film: never a dull visual, literalist in intent, overawing. The maximalist treatment (acrobats tumbling, Fu Manchu moustaches, a Chinese dragon puppet, scimitars and slanted eye makeup, costumes of ostentatious magnificence) speaks of a horror vacui: cram it in and hope the music helps, and the singing too.
Might Sara Mearns be the best Odette/Odile dancing today? Like her heroine Makarova, she can do it all.
Swan Lake is a signature role for her for good reason. She is the vessel in which the story holds and by which it holds true: it achieves its considerable dramatic potentials through her. She is the crucible in which the tragedy is fired. Lucky us to be seeing her give her artistry so freely, and in service of Tchaikovsky’s visions of beauty.
WordPress failed to upload my review so I lost it all. The now short version:
Yoncheva: excellent. Plush opulence, silky tone, redeeming her stature in my eyes. She obviously looks great in a dress but more, she sounds great. Willow Tree was haunting, moments of despair well drawn, acting strong. Fully justifying the accolades she is garnering. Worth seeing just for her.
The Royal Ballet announces Natalia Osipova is to withdraw from all Autumn season performances.
One assumes she was injured during rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet.
I am reminded of this article:
I suspect a significant soft-tissue injury (tear perhaps?). Regardless, I wish her well and hope she has a swift recovery.
Get well soon, Ms Osipova.