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Puccini’s Turandot to be broadcast live in cinemas on Tuesday 17 September

Musical highlights, production photos and behind-the-scenes info ahead of the live screening.

By Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer)

16 September 2013 at 5.57pm | 38 Comments

On Tuesday 17 September, Puccini’s Turandot will be relayed live to cinemas around the world.

Andrei Serban’s production of Puccini’s dark fairytale is one of The Royal Opera’s most spectacular productions and since its premiere at the Cultural Olympiad in Los Angeles in 1984, has been performed almost 100 times.

Turandot was Puccini’s final opera. He died before its completion and it was left to Franco Alfano to complete the final act. The finished work was staged for the first time in 1926 at La Scala in Milan; during the performance, conductor Arturo Toscanini famously lay down his baton in Act III before declaring, ‘at this point, the Maestro died’. Find out more about the piece with our Opera Essentials guide.

The Story

The opera follows the story of Prince Calaf and his attempts to win the heart of the beautiful but defiant Princess Turandot. A Chinese fable about gambling with life and love, Turandot was inspired by Puccini’s fascination with the Far East. Sally Jacob’s designs, a pageant of theatricality and colour, bring all the exoticism of China to Covent Garden. Find out more about how such fantastical sets and scenery are kept fresh.

The Music

In his final days Puccini wrote some of his most famous and passionate arias. Romantic and compelling, Turandot owes much of its enduring appeal to the power of the music.  It includes one of the biggest show-stoppers in all opera, ‘Nessun Dorma’, as well as some highly charged numbers for the chorus. Read more about a shiver-down-the-spine musical moment in Turandot.

The Cast

Star soprano Lise Lindstrom makes her Royal Opera House debut in this year’s production of Turandot, singing the fiendishly difficult title role, while acclaimed Italian tenor Marco Berti sings the role of Calaf. Henrik Nánási conducts.

Review

Read audience reactionsto the opening night of Turandot. Following the cinema screening, we will publish a round-up of tweets so let us know your thoughts with the hashtag #ROHturandot.

Over the course of the 2013/14 Season, Royal Opera House productions will be screened live in over 1,000 cinemas in 38 countries. Find out more about this Season’s programme and find a screening near you.

By Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer)

16 September 2013 at 5.57pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged broadcast, by Andrei Serban, cinema, cinema season, giacomo puccini, live, live screening, Production, Puccini, screening, turandot

This article has 38 comments

  1. Nelly Rowling responded on 16 September 2013 at 8:51pm Reply

    I have never heard this Puccini's Opera, so I am keen to see the live screening soon.

  2. Glyn Conway responded on 17 September 2013 at 9:02am Reply

    Having seen this opera before as a traditional patron, I am looking forward to comparing that experience with the digitally screened live performance tonight. What a privileged opportunity so thanks to all the organisers.

  3. David responded on 17 September 2013 at 10:00am Reply

    Is there a cast list to download please?

  4. Marilyn Coombs responded on 17 September 2013 at 10:17am Reply

    Thank you so much for the live screenings. Without them I would not be able to watch opera nowadays. Really looking forward to it. Just wish you were also showing Figaro.

  5. David responded on 17 September 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

    Thank you Chris. I knew it would be there somewhere but just couldn't put my finger on it!

  6. Josephine Allen-Kemper responded on 17 September 2013 at 2:35pm Reply

    I am an ex Guildhall School of Music student - this has always been my best loved Puccini Opera. I won the G.S.M. & D Gold Medal with the great Turandot aria.
    WHY do we hear the tenor aria ad infinitum and not
    "In Questa Reggia" occasionally? I can recommend a recording by Eva Turner for new fans - a great Turandot!
    The character, Liu, also has two beautiful arias.
    Enjoy!
    I

  7. Having recently moved further away from London this will be my first visit to the ROH via the cinema. Are the ROH program's for sale at the cinema? And if not why not (I'm assuming the answer will be negative). A suggestion is that one could book and pay for a program to be collected on the night at the showing venue.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 17 September 2013 at 6:00pm

      Hi JJ

      The number of cinemas in which we hold screenings around the world has always made distributing programmes prohibitively expensive. We are, however, exploring downloadable programmes at the moment and hope to pilot them in the New Year.

      Best wishes

      Ellen

  8. Thanks for your reply Ellen. I do wonder though, given the cost of the program at the ROH I can't believe you don't make a tidy profit margin. So I reiterate my point that if I were to pay the £8 in advance even if you sent each one out individually I'm sure you would at the very least cover your costs? If the system was that you had to pay for the program at whatever cost at the same time as booking so many days in advance of the screening, I'm sure that a number of us would take up the purchase and I'm sure it would generate at least a small return for the ROH, especially if they were posted to the cinema en bloc a few days beforehand. Just think of how many you might shift!

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 17 September 2013 at 6:28pm

      As well as the number of cinemas we relay our productions to there is also the issue that the cinemas would need to ensure that the programmes went to the correct people. I can see that it must seem like a simple thing, but there actually is quite a lot of complexity on both sides. It can be enough of a challenge to ensure that the free cast sheets are available!

      Thanks for the suggestion though, I'll certainly pass it on.

      Ellen

  9. Sheila's responded on 17 September 2013 at 11:12pm Reply

    Saw the performance at the cinema . what a treat. Eri nakamura as liu was incredible, great performances, stunning sets loved every minute.

  10. antonio responded on 17 September 2013 at 11:13pm Reply

    Ha sido una puesta en escena "extraordinaria", he disfrutado de esta oportunidad de verla en directo en el cine en Cádiz (España). Felicitaciones a todos, cantantes, coro, orquesta, regidor, director de escena, tramoyistas, a todos sin excepción mi mas sincera felicitación. Un espectáculo sublime.

  11. David responded on 17 September 2013 at 11:21pm Reply

    Thougherly
    er enjoyed it in Southend,Essex.

    Had a great night ou

  12. Superb evening watching in St Helens. Sets, costumes,staging - glorious to watch. Singing and music left the auditorium buzzing. Thank you for this medium to watch productions that would otherwise be beyond our reach!!

  13. Just returned from the cinema screening....what a great idea. Living right down in cornwall makes a visit to a large opera production hugely expensive so this was brilliant. The atmosphere was great too, opera definitely travels to the big screen well....looking forward to seeing more. Well done the ROH!

  14. Amanda responded on 18 September 2013 at 9:03am Reply

    Turandot was great last night but I was expecting subtitles as we have had in previous performances at the cinema. I thought the idea was to make opera more accessible to the wider public. I am a regular opera viewer on cinema and love having the sub titles so I can understand the action and story better being not able to speak Italian or French.

    • Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer) responded on 18 September 2013 at 10:28am

      Hi Amanda,

      Sorry to hear that there were no subtitles at the cinema last night. If you let us know which cinema you were at, we can look into it and find out if there were any technical problems,

      Thanks,

      Lottie

  15. Hi,
    This was our second experience of cinema opera and the first one as it happened live. Enjoyed what seemed an excellent performance, especially after meeting one of the cast after a dinner recently. However at our cinema, in Ipswich, there was a slight 50Hz buzz on the sound, during the filmed introductions and during the performance but not as far as I could detected, in the shots of the auditorium during the intermission. Is this general or just Ipswich.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 18 September 2013 at 2:35pm

      Dear Iain

      This definitely wasn't a general issue. I will pass your comment onto our cinema team, but it would be helpful if you could tell me which cinema you were watching in. It may be that there is only one, but this will avoid any confusion.

      Best wishes

      Ellen

  16. maggi brown responded on 18 September 2013 at 11:12am Reply

    I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. And today is my birthday - so this was a SUPERB pre-birthday treat. What a wonderful evening - sitting in Cheltemham Cineworld - tickets £14 - watching the ROH doing what is does so well.THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

  17. One slight disappointment was the sound quality, at the loudest ensemble moments the sound was fuzzy and a little distorted. This may have been the cinema I was watching at? The only other thing I would say to the ROH is that it would be nice from an atmosphere point of view to see and hear a little of the house filling up and especially the orchestra tuning up, all adds to the feel of a live evening.

    • Ellen West (Head of Online Content) responded on 18 September 2013 at 2:32pm

      Dear JJ

      Let us know where you were watching the relay and we will follow up with the cinema.

      Best wishes

      Ellen

  18. D Davis responded on 18 September 2013 at 3:30pm Reply

    Saw Turandot last night. Still on a "high". What a fabulous production. Well done ROH. Can't get to London from west country easily so this has to be the next best thing. One small nag; In the 2nd interval I was still lost in Turandot but was disturbed by adverts for DVD's of La Boheme etc. It rather spoilt the atmosphere!. Looking forward to Don Quixote

  19. Dear Ellen

    It was the Carlton in Westgate on Sea, small independent place much to be encouraged and I hope they will continue with the showings. Thanks for looking into as the sound quality is so important. We have already booked with them for Les Vespres.

    Kinds regards

    JJ

  20. Joan Mackie responded on 18 September 2013 at 6:02pm Reply

    The link failed to the Vue in Altrincham. We were told it was your fault but I see there were no problems elsewhere. First the colour failed and then the screen went blank after the first act.

    • Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer) responded on 19 September 2013 at 10:10am

      Dear Joan,

      Sorry to hear you had technical problems in Altrincham. This wasn't a general issue at all, and so I will pass on details to our cinema team so they can look into the problems there.

      All the best,

      Lottie

  21. Sonja Roffey responded on 18 September 2013 at 6:47pm Reply

    A stunningly beautiful production! The costumes, set, choreography were wonderful and the colours..!! I thoroughly enjoyed it. It took my breath away. Thank you ROH for an incredibly enjoyable evening.

  22. Sally Smith responded on 19 September 2013 at 8:49am Reply

    Thank you to all at the ROH for a fabulous night of operatic cinema. The production was an emotional feast for the eyes and ears. My Mother and I are still raving about Turandot and will be a long time to come. I was especially moved by Eri Nakamura who has been the only opera singer to make me cry not just once but in every act and during the curtain call! This role has to have been written for her. She has to be my favourite opera singer, are there any recordings featuring Eri?
    Just one thing, the showing of Turandot ( Majestic Cinema King's Lynn Norfolk ) was the first from the ROH but had no subtitles which would have made it a perfect evening. Anyway, I shall be seeing Turandot, (Elektra and Figaro) next week and look forward to the excitement of being in the ROH.
    Thank you for a wonderful night.
    Sally

  23. Biard Hélène responded on 19 September 2013 at 9:12am Reply

    A so beautiful Turandot with an ideal cast and a splendid production. May we hope a dvd?

    • Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer) responded on 19 September 2013 at 10:07am

      Dear Biard,

      Glad you enjoyed the production. We hope to release the DVD next Spring. Keep an eye on our News & Features section as we will publish details of forthcoming DVD releases there.

      All the best,

      Lottie

  24. A Woolgar responded on 19 September 2013 at 12:38pm Reply

    Saw Turandot at the Reel cinema Morecambe. There appeared to be something wrong with the colour of the transmission; everything that should have been red was yellow i.e Turandot's dress in act 2, the blood etc. Would this just be a fault locally or a fault withe trabsmission.

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 19 September 2013 at 2:29pm

      Hi,

      Very sorry to hear about your experience. We believe it was a local fault but are working with the cinema to ensure it doesn't happen again.

      Thanks,

      Chris
      ROH Content Producer (Social Media and News)

  25. My wife and saw Turandot at the Vue Cinema, Stirling. What a stunning experience! Pleased to say we had no technical issues as in some other cinemas. I have been to a few operas but this took the experience to a new level in many ways.It was awesome to see the singers in such close up and really appreciate what was going on. This was an emotional, inspiring and very uplifting experience. One of the best nights out we have had in a while.We will certainly back at the Vue for as many of these live performances as we can fit in.

  26. david cosiello responded on 23 September 2013 at 10:19pm Reply

    I saw this at the Odeon Swansea and the preshow and act 1 were completely ruined ,as the picture froze every few minutes. act 2 and 3 were fine.
    I have to question ,what is the point of having live screenings? There are obviously technical issues .
    I saw Butterfly and Tosca ,at the cinema ,they were not live and both fantastic and they both had significantly more people in attendance. Shorter interval breaks also make it more of a cinema experience rather than having the longer breaks that were at the roh live performance.
    Opera at the cinema is a great experience ,but not when there are technical issues. Unless you can guarantee a live faultless performance at the cinema, then I wouldn't bother. I would be happier to see a faultless recording.

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 24 September 2013 at 9:41am

      Hi David,

      Sorry to hear about your experience. We are in conversation with the cinema in question to ensure that this doesn't occur again.

      This Season we're offering live screenings every month as from audience consultation, they're by far preferred by audiences; such is the appeal of participating in a unique live event from locations around the globe.

      Certain sites may however offer additional recorded screenings alongside our live offering.

      Thanks,

      Chris
      Content Producer (Social Media and News)

  27. Saw it in Yeovil - no technical problems, splendid. Eri Nakamura was the best Liu I have ever seen. I heard her in the R3 broadcast of your Werther and she was good then, but this was special. A Star is Born. Please tell her: Nakamura-san wa honto-ni subarashikatta. Kokoro kara o-medeto goazaimasu!

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