My friend Jean keeps a tape in her VCR so she can jump up and tape something interesting on the ARTS channel. There's some pretty interesting stuff on these tapes, including two films of Rodolph Nureyev in his prime. He is simply amazing.
Irmgard Seefried and Christa Ludwig both sing "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen."
So here on Jean's tape is a film of the new ending to Turandot composed by Luciano Berio. I ranted about this here without having heard it. It still includes the chorus honoring the emperor but in a more fragmented form.
I'm trying to evaluate this without thinking about focusing on the visuals, a difficult feat in this case. The production is drab in the extreme, when this scene is usually staged elaborately. Liu's body is seen lying on a gurney. The phrase "his name is love" in the new version sounds mysteriously like it's composed by Berio rather than Puccini. That is the main problem with the entire section--it alternately sounds like Puccini and Berio. Familiar melodies from other parts of the opera appear and disappear into a more modern context.
The opera clashes and wimps to its end, in startling contrast to the pomp and glory of the Alfano version. I guess I'm biased. I love the other version and always cry when she sings "Suo nome e amore." For me that is the test for a good ending to Turandot--does it make you cry?
This is on YouTube so you can judge for yourself.
Jamie Barton at Koerner Hall
4 hours ago