"In fact, though, it was as deeply moving and disturbing an opera performance as I’ve heard this season, thanks to a subtle but devastating staging by director R. B. Schlather. This minimalist scheme paid off effectively in the Busoni but utterly transformed the Puccini/Berio. Magic, it seems, is impossible without risk."
BARD OPERA 2016
Paul Tate dePoo III
* Puccini had the highest of hopes for his final opera, which was far removed in its musical language and subject matter from the world of verismo. When he met his untimely end after surgery for throat cancer, he had completed all but the opera's closing scene. At Toscanini's recommendation, Alfano was commissioned to compose it, and although many would find his posthumous completion both musically and dramatically disappointing, it is in this form that Turandot endures. Only very recently did a viable alternative emerge, when Berio (whose completion of Schubert's tenth symphony was heard at Bard two years ago) made his own attempt. The Guardian pronounced this “the ending [Turandot] deserves,” and the New Yorker agreed.