triumphant kitsch

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In the review published on December 1 on this same production, it was recalled that the North American artist Robert (Bob) Wilson he triumphed early on stages around the world half a century ago with an ambitious discourse, somewhere between abstruse and pacifist, where he incorporated forms borrowed from oriental theater in acting gestures, the conception of space and the use of the mask, a ritual that Bob wrapped , caressed, polished with lighting technology elevated to the category of protagonist of the show; the result deserved praiseworthy qualifications: fascinating, original, innovative, unique. An added merit is that, already in his eighties, he remains faithful to his dynamic activity. Personal achievement coincides with the alarm (fatigue, tedium, the feeling of rehash on rehash) that his inventions can produce today. Wilson has given splendid productions in which his style was capable of unraveling different works, but he seems to have long since slipped into the vice of applying the same formula to everything that comes his way, be it Gluck, Debussy or Puccini, whose particular features disappeared under Bob’s magic wand, with the unpleasant effect of degrading each piece until it was recognizable, engulfed by an icy hieratism delicately colored with figures that if once evoking Japanese ritual attitudes, today are reduced to a machacona collection of posturitas.

The Puccinian will is unrecognizable under the wrapper where Bob hides it, here a kind of “window dresser” for a luxury store. Because it is possible that this well-known and frequented opera needs a point of view that highlights and underlines the heart of a story where three stories coincide, that of the defeated king and his slave, the troubles of the ministers who want to retire, and the obsession lethal of the neurasthenic princess. Perhaps it is simply a question of focusing on the essential dramatic nucleus, which consists of a fierce battle between two hypertrophied egos, that of Turandot that she prefers to behead her suitors rather than have a boyfriend and that of Fodder, who instead of taking care of his father by thanking Liú for his services, insists on submitting to the bloody contest, who knows without hoping to also lose his head. Under the glossy paper of the montage, everything remains impregnated, distanced, distorted by an obstinate corniness.

Nicholas Luisotti returns to the podium; If a certain refinement was missing then, this time it continues in his vision closer to epic drama than to marvelous tale, although it must be recognized that such a genre is based on a logic that does not appear anywhere here. Each type pretends to respond to a passionate impulse that here changes at the whim of an action, whose violence jumps from one torture to another with no more justification than the well-known generic invocation to Love with a capital letter that squeaks in the mouth of Turandot, supporter of the beheaded groom. The subtleties of the score, in this case not always intuited, place the fable in an area of ​​mystery, an enigma one might say, in a sense opposite to that of the neurotic princess.

The two sopranos, Anna Pirozzi (Turandot), and Salomé Jicio (Liú) share the double role of virgins with vocal splendor. The wicked is exposed not so much coldly, much less with perverse gloating, but as the statement of a patient who exposes before her psychiatrist the trauma that condemns her to be single. Pirozzi is so limpid and relentless that a man less obtuse than the last one in love with her is easy for her to get discouraged in her arduous pursuit of her, no matter how beautiful the young lady is. Liù absorbs in Jicio’s version all the warm and sensible humanity of her gruesome reign, as a martyr of LOVEin absolute capital letters, although it is possible to think that the sweet slave immolates herself as the caretaker of the old man who will never be her father-in-law.

The tenor Jorge de León is a hard-working Calaf who does not quite communicate the momentum of his outbursts; Little helped by the scene, he is unable to overcome the image of a laborious and insistent man, getting dangerously close to the figure of the redneck in front of a shop window on Fifth Avenue or Rue de la Paix. Adam Palka as Timor does what he can with the most despised character in the fable. The Choir, which in 2018 seemed strident, was tempered last night, perhaps as a farewell to who has been its excellent director. The performance was highly applaudedboth today and yesterday.

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