Turandot with a Catalan flavor in Tokyo
Friday sees the world premiere of La Fura dels Baus director Àlex Ollé's version of Puccini's opera with the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra
Some 2,300 audience members sat down in the Bunka Kaikan Theater in Tokyo on Friday to see the world premiere of a new version of Giacomo Puccini's famous opera 'Turandot' that has more than a little Catalan flavor.
With stage direction by La Fura dels Baus director Àlex Ollé, the music was provided by the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra (OBC), including Swedish soprano Iréne Theorin as one of the main vocalists.
The opera debuted with three performances, to be followed by four more in the Japanese capital, for the Summer Festival Opera 2019-20 conceived by the OBC's musical director, Kazushi Ono, to celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Friday's concert was also the start of a five-week tour of Japan by the OBC - one of its biggest ever - which will include some 16 concerts (opera and symphonies) in the cities of Tokyo, Otsu, Sapporo, Nagoya and Hiroshima.
Meanwhile, the premiere performances of ‘Turandot’ - which take place between Friday and August 4 - have all sold out. That means that more than 22,000 people will have seen the concerts by the time they come to an end.
It is the first time that Ollé has directed a Puccini work, although it is the second time La Fura dels Baus has staged this opera, following Carlus Padrissa's version, which took place in 2012 in Munich.
Among the vocalists appearing in the opera is the aforementioned Theorin, as well as soprano Jennifer Wilson playing the princess Turandot, the tenors Teodor Ilincai and David Pomeroy as Calaf, the Japanese sopranos Nakamura Eri and Sunakawa Ryoko as Liù, and baritones Riccardo Zanellato and Tsumaya Hidekazu in the role of Timur.