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Turandot at the Sydney Opera House

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by Barry J (subscribe)
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Experience an operatic evening on Sydney Harbour
Every year, Opera Australia performs a single opera outside the confines of the Opera House concert hall. This year, Turandot, the Chinese fable, returns to Sydney on Thursday, 24 March for a month of shows.

Turandot in Sydney
Turandot in Sydney (image by Opera Australia)

Turandot is the final work of Giacomo Puccini 3 operatic acts of classical music and bold vocals, written almost a century ago and based on a centuries-old fable of compelling romance. Set in China, it begins with Prince Calaf, overwhelmed by the beauty of Princess Turandot. She remains stone-faced, presenting him with a series of challenges to win her heart. The stakes are high failure at any stage will cost him his life. Not hesitating at the risk, he tackles each challenge, succeeding in the deadly test. Despite this, the princess rejects his passionate requests for marriage. To resolve the matter before dawn, he sets a challenge for her learn my name and I will perish.

Turandot's set in Sydney
Turandot's Set in Sydney (image by Opera Australia)

The emotional tension throughout this love story is reflected on the shimmering waters and gentle sea breezes of Sydney Harbour. The excitement and drama of the intriguing conclusion is further heightened by the rainbow of colours as the sky explodes with the flashes of fireworks.

Turandot experience in Sydney
The Turandot experience in Sydney (image by Opera Australia)

The atmosphere of an opera performed in the open air is truly special. The whole evening becomes an experience as pop-up bars and restaurants offer pre-show socialising and drinks, then dinner in the Sydney Harbour precinct, watching the sun slowing set behind the Harbour Bridge. As the temperature remains mild despite the darkening skies, the show begins.

The Turandot experience in Sydney
The Turandot experience in Sydney (image by Opera Australia)

For the next 2 hours and 20 minutes, you'll be entertained, grateful for the 35-minute interval to catch your breath and sip champagne. This video gives an enticing preview of the whole experience.

Turandot's costumes in Sydney
Turandot's set in Sydney (image by Opera Australia)

To create an authentic tone and theme, Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng has interpreted the text, using his experiences of the duality of a dynamic China to ensure the same conflict between cold order and beautiful love are translated into this timeless tale. To make this annual event a truly special celebration, he is joined by a cast of the most talented operatic singers in the world. The lead roles are shared between 2 world-renowned performers.

The role of Princess Turandot is performed by the Serbian soprano, Dragana Radakovic, arriving after stunning audiences throughout Europe with her stirring vocal range, and Daria Masiero, the Italian soprano eagerly returning to Australia after winning a new legion of fans with her performances in the Opera Australia productions of Aida and Carmen.

Rising to her challenges, Prince Calaf is performed by Riccardo Massi, the Italian tenor with a voice gracing the finest operatic theatres in Paris and Milan. He is also welcomed back to Australia after his efforts in last year's production of Tosca. Rising from the new world of the Americas, Arnold Rawls is returning to Sydney to explore the finer dramatic aspects of the prince with his emotionally-charged tones developed from years of performing throughout America, Canada and Europe.

The musical composition brings this love story to life. The most stirring is perhaps Nessun dorma, one of the highlights you'll enjoy. Listen to the great Andrea Bocelli perform it here. If you're keen to prepare for the evening of Italian song, you can also watch a performance from 2014 in Verona, Italy here.

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Why? Turandot Sydney Harbour's Open-Air Opera
When: 7.30pm
Phone: Box Office: 61 2 9250 7777
Where: Sydney Opera House
Cost: From $60 plus booking fee
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