2016-04-16

Outdoor Opera - Turandot on Sydney Harbour

Turandot on Sydney Harbour is the 5th of the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, the outdoor opera set in the beautiful harbour that started in 2012 when Dr Handa partnered with Destinations NSW and Opera Australia with a $3 million donation.

Outdoor Opera
The Turandot outdoor opera features a large dragon that breathes real fire in the performance, and has its tail shaped like the Great Wall of China that allows various captivating projections on the wall throughout the play as well as lets casts walk on top of the wall.

There's also a tall tower (18m pogoda according to their blog) where the cold princess Turandot appears at the top, and descends through a lowering mechanism. During the performance, the lowering mechanism is however not smooth and resulted in Turandot wobbling which amused some of the audience.
  
The director also arranged fireworks to be lit behind the stage, just after the principal tenor, Calàf, sung one of the most famous and beautiful aria, Nessun dorma, which gathered much applause. tthe performance doesn't allow recording, so you'll have to hear it in other recordings of Nessun dorma in YouTube.)

In addition to real fire and fireworks that can only be done in outdoor operas, it also allows food and drinks to be consumed in your seat. The opera is also more family friendly in the outdoor setting since in indoor operas principals often perform without microphones. Using speakers in outdoor operas mean that children or coughs are more tolerable.

Performing Team
Personally I find the story of many operas not very convincing, including Turandot. However, I feel it's still better for children to watch compared to many movies. For one, at least at the end of the opera, all the casts would appear together and hold hands as a united team to thank the cheering audience. It's thus clear that everything is purely an act, no matter how much the characters might hate each other in the performance, or whether some are "killed" in the act, or whether some are ghosts or emperors or gods.

The cost of watching operas are typically higher than going to movies, inherently because of the live cast and real stages. The regular adult price for Turandot on Sydney Harbour is $70 to $330, with occasional specials for last minute seats or when they are recording the performance for DVD releases. I tend to prefer seats near the front so I can see the principals up and close, while at the same paying less -- the premium seats are near the center (purple in the diagram).

One question I have is that there seems to be two alternating casts for the three principals Turandot (Dragana Radakovic / Daria Masiero),
Calàf (Riccardo Massi / Arnold Rawls), and
Liù (Hyeseoung Kwon / Eva Kong). Anyone know why? (other than letting us see the same show twice XD)

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