Palm Beach Opera presents Giacomo Puccini’s “Turandot” at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts for one weekend only, on Jan. 24-26.
The first mainstage opera of Palm Beach Opera’s 19-20 season, “Turandot” is a sweeping story of perseverance and peril, featuring an adventurous musical score and one of the most iconic opera arias of all time, “Nessun Dorma.” Matched with a vibrant, fantastical set, this production will be conducted by the company’s Chief Conductor David Stern and directed by Keturah Stickann, whose unique vision for the production will make for an interesting interpretation of the classic opera.
Stickann, who aside from directing operas across the country has trained as a classical and contemporary dancer, turned to poetry to deepen her understanding of “Turandot.” Inspired by the Persian poet Rumi, Stickann began to see the story as more of a spiritual one than a romantic one.
“I suddenly began reading the libretto as the tale of a man (Calàf) on a spiritual journey, fighting with himself to reach peace and oneness within,” Stickann shares in her program notes. “Turandot is the divine ideal, the spiritual half of Calàf’s being, but she has been rendered cold, frozen over, a shut door. He must learn to accept and exude love in order to walk the path of enlightenment with her.”
“We are excited to be presenting this extraordinary piece with a unique insight into Calàf’s journey,” said General Director David Walker. “This production will thrill our audiences with the grandeur and impact of this iconic work, while providing an opportunity to be moved by the dramatic story in a deeper context.”
Soprano Alexandra Loutsion, recognized as “fearless” by Opera News, will share the starring role of Turandot with Alexandra LoBianco (Jan. 25), who recently debuted at the Metropolitan Opera earlier this month. Stefano La Colla, whose “superior voice and technique” was highlighted by OperaWire, and Hovhannes Ayvazyan, in an American debut performance (Jan. 25), will both perform as Calàf.
Leah Crocetto, whose voice “captures the stage and your heart” according to Broadway World, will share the role of Liù with Russian soprano Anastasia Schegoleva (Jan. 25). Russian bass Evgeny Stavinsky will perform as Timur, and Zachary Nelson, last seen at Palm Beach Opera in “Don Giovanni,” will perform as Ping. In two company debuts, John McVeigh, praised for his “touching portrayal” by Opera News, will sing Pang, and lyric tenor Matthew Newlin will sing Pong. South Korean bass Il Hoon Kim will sing the role of Mandarin.
Stickann, LoBianco, La Colla, Crocetto and Stavinsky will also mark company debuts in this production, and Schegoleva and Kim’s performances will also be American debuts. A robust chorus of more than 75 singers, along with the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, now in its 26th season, will also perform.
The imaginative set from Lyric Opera of Chicago, which OperaWire hailed as “the quintessential operatic experience,” features a sprawling dragon, a mystical orb-like pearl, and a cascading stairway, all coupled with dramatic lighting design by Lucas Krech.
“Turandot” will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 24 and 25, and at 2 p.m. on Jan. 26. Tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase at pbopera.org or by calling the box office at 561-833-7888. Palm Beach Opera will also present “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” in February and “Eugene Onegin” in March. More information on Palm Beach Opera’s 19-20 season may be found at pbopera.org.