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Reviews

Pucinni's TURANDOT
U.S. Reviews

Good Show Teatro Lirico!
"Puccini's final masterpiece 'Turandot' was given a grand presentation by the Teatro Lirico D'Europa Saturday evening. What a joy to hear it all unmarred by intrusive electronics! To have performers as professional as Teatro Liricos travel here to McCain strikes me as a blessing to be most grateful for."
             MANHATTAN MERCURY NEWS - Ben Nyberg - Mar. 2000

TURANDOT Explores the Poles of Passion
"Teatro Lirico D'Europa boasted a fine orchestra, a well coached chorus and strong voices from both the demanding principal roles and smaller secondary parts. All the singers acquitted themselves honorably starting with Leslie Morgan as Turandot. Roumen Doikov sang the prince with a robust tenor that rang true and clear. He drew bravos from the crowd for "Nessun Dorma," the opera's famous aria. Qilian Chen won the audience's heart as Liu. After the final chorus: "Gloria a te!" the audience rose to give the entire ensemble a warm ovation."  NEWS LEADER - Larry T. Collins - Mar. 2000

TURANDOT Shows that Opera can be Exciting, Entertaining...
"A beautiful performance by talented actors captivated an entire hall full of viewers. The costumes were absolutely gorgeous. The story takes place in ancient Peking and the garments reflect that era with beautiful shades of gold, jade and crimson. The lighting effects added to the perfection of the costuming, causing their garb to fluctuate in hues, depending on the color they stepped into. The beautiful Chinese soprano, Qilian Chen, has an exquisite soprano voice, which combined with her beautiful facial and bodily expression, evoked several ovations, and on one particular occasion, brought tears to the eyes of yours truly." SOUTHWEST STANDARD- Bobbilynne Shackelford – Mar. 2000

"For music lovers, it was a stellar weekend, for Saturday night's production of TURANDOT was magnificent. What a thrill to hear the full Teatro Lirico D'Europa orchestra accompany a cast of sixty singers! Chen's (Liu) two arias proved to be shining moments as she floated her pianissimo high notes impossibly above the orchestra. Leslie Morgan sang an excellent Princess with just the right degree of ice in her voice, while Roumen Doikov's glorious tenor gave the role of Calaf an extra dimension. His "Nessun dorma" was outstanding. The sets were beautifully done, costumes were lavish and the voices outstanding. They used no microphones! All the voices projected above the large orchestration."   ILLINOIS TIMES - Ann Kerr - Mar. 2000

TURANDOT Production Expertly Performed
"G. Puccini's final opera presented at the Sangamon Aud. by Teatro Lirico D'Europa embellishes the classic story of the ice princess thawed by a dedicated swain. Doikov expertly conveyed that Calaf is essentially a steamroller with a deep soul. The yearning conveyed by his tenor voice emphasized Calaf's unstoppable quest to win the princess and pierced through the orchestral and vocal accompaniment. Morgan's Turandot attained the right degree of hauteur, using her formidable voice to intimidate. Qilian Chen as Liu, the slave girl exquisitely sung portrayal foreshadowed her character's tragic fate. "Nessun dorma" is a terribly difficult piece, and happily Doikov did not disappoint. The sets were quite effective and colorful, as were the oriental costumes."
             THE STATE JOURNAL REGISTER - Jacqueline Gerber – Mar. 2000

TURANDOT generous with voices, emotions
"The Teatro Lirico D'Europa's production of Puccini's 'Turandot' had a generous display of voices and emotions. Roumen Doikov's Calaf  was at the head of the list. The Bulgarian tenor looks young and eager, phrases with musical sensitivity and flaunts terrific high notes. The others were firmly on the plus side. Chinese soprano Qilian Chen, a sophisticated vocalist who securely perched series of radiant high pianissimos...made a sympathetic stage personality. Avalee Beckman...hurled out the top tones like firebombs. She also had good musical instincts and theatrical imagination; she attempted a characterization, which is more than most Turandot's do. The orchestra played with skill, enthusiasm and confidence born of lots of experience of 'Turandot.' The chorus poured out quality sound that joined with the orchestra to create a solid musical superstructure for the performance. The high energy American conductor Joseph Illick was always there for his singers; both he and the players were attentive to the wonderful details of color and atmosphere in the scoring. The public got its money's worth. Beckmann and Doikov...were miles ahead of the last Met-touring cast. The audience loved it. Boston has been more than a decade without big opera and uninhibited Italianate singing. Next season Teatro Lirico proposes longer runs for both 'Aida' and 'Nabucco.' If they do people will come.”
                          BOSTON GLOBE - Richard Dyer - Mar. 2000

Lirico's Turandot is a grand evening in small setting
"The Teatro Lirico D'Europa proved Monday night that it is possible to produce an opera as big as Puccini's 'Turandot' at the Emerson Majestic Theatre. With savvy and heart this European based touring company directed by Giorgio Lalov did itself proud in the best American "let's put on a show" tradition. Both Monday and Tuesday night performances were sold out in advance. There were people at the ticket entrance holding signs asking to purchase extra tickets, and one audience member reported hearing an offer of $200. for one. Illick's orchestra played well, sometimes beautifully. Tenor Roumen Doikov gave the evening's finest performance as Calaf. His big sturdy voice grew in warmth throughout the opera...he didn't disappoint those who were in the audience mainly waiting for his hit tune, the aria, "Nessun dorma."Soprano Avalee Beckmann from Canada raised the roof-and peeled the paint-with a huge strident voice...and Chinese soprano Qilian Chen used intelligence and heavenly pianissimo...a performance of distinction. Lalov hopes to bring the company back to Boston next year. I'd get my tickets early if I were you."   BOSTON HERALD - T. J. Medrick- Mar. 2000

"This company has been touring Europe for 14 years, giving thousands of performances with professional, grown up casts. Now on it's first American tour, TLD packed the Emerson Majestic with an audience hungry for old-fashioned, ungimmicky, pour your heart-out opera and delivered exactly what the audience wanted. Evocative sets filled the stage. The chorus was both vocally and dramatically impressive. The competent and enthusiastic musicians were led with zest and musical imagination by gifted, young Joseph Illick. Teatro Lirico's stage director, Giorgio Lalov who has sung at La Scala never left you in doubt about what was going on. Leslie Morgan who has sung the role with several regional opera companies and orchestras was an effective, neurotic Princess. The sturdy Doikov (Calaf) had a real tenor ring. The major crowd pleaser was Chinese Soprano Qilian Chen as the slave girl Liu. She acted with touching dignity and had more than a serviceable voice that was capable of scene-stealing high pianissimos. Teatro Lirico D'Europa promises to return to Boston next year with Verdi's 'Aida' and his rarely performed, utterly uninhibited third opera 'Nabucco.' People will be lining up early." 
                     BOSTON PHOENIX - Lloyd Schwartz- Mar. 2000

"Tamara Kutsenko, who took the role of Turandot in the Teatro Lirico D'Europa production Wednesday at the Cerritos Center for the Perf. Arts and handled it as persuasively as anyone. Roumen Doikov sang Calaf with a bright, strong, Italianate tenor. Kenneithia Mitchell was a gentle, effective Liu. Conductor Krassimir Topolov kept the score moving briskly. The orchestra played with power."
                        LOS ANGELES TIMES - Chris Paslis, Feb. 2001

Turandot provides a taste of real Italian culture
"The performance brought to life Puccini's beautiful music and the intriguing libretto. Tenor Roumen Doikov brought an almost athletic vigor to the role of Calaf and drew a standing ovation for his hearty rendering of 'Nessun dorma.' The best vocal performance may have been by Kenneithia Mitchell as Liu. Her voice doesn't cut through the airwaves. It gently separates them. Director Giorgio Lalov conveys the magical message of transformation in 'Turandot.' His staging makes it clear that not only must Calaf conquer Turandot, he must allow Turandot to conquer him to find mutual love. It's interesting that the program notes quote Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth" to elaborate on the libretto's themes of transformation."   THE DESERT SUN - Bruce Fessier - Feb. 2001

Puccini's TURANDOT
“Some super singers! Oh those featured singers! Russian soprano Irina Bozhedomova and Bulgarian tenor Roumen Doikov could knock your socks off with their voices leaving you drooling at every sparing note. Bozhedomova's voice easily captured attention and her combination with Doikov was shattering. Kenneithia Mitchell sings Liu with a mellifluous, finely etched voice. The audience gave the players a rousing reception.”
       UTICA DISPATCH OBSERVER - Jonas Kover - Feb. 2002

“The touring Teatro Lirico put on a solid, moving TURANDOT at Veterans Memorial Auditorium last night. Fans couldn't get enough of Roumen Doikov's soaring tenor. He got a huge ovation for his searing rendition of ‘Nessun Dorma,' the heroic aria. Real artistry came from a young American soprano, Kenneithia Mitchell, as Liu who gave us a fleshed out character and managed to blend tenderness and defiance. As a vocalist she was stunning. Mitchell proved a master of the sweet caress. Teatro Lirico is one of the few touring companies that dares, or can afford to put on large scale operas.”
                PROVIDENCE JOURNAL - Channing Gray - Feb. 2002

Turandot warms hearts of local opera buffs!
“Local opera buffs came out en masse Thursday to the Philharmonic Center. Teatro Lirico's full-scale production's clever sets beautifully evoked the royal palace pavilion - the Forbidden City in Peking. With its orchestra of 50 musicians, chorus of more than 40 trained singers, and soloists that have already launched international careers, Teatro Lirico successfully interpreted the work's legendary Chinese characters. Puccini's masterpiece is known as a soprano-killer, with the role of Turandot as difficult as Wagner's Isolde. Russian soprano Irina Bozhedomova's penetrating voice evoked just the right balance of fire and ice that the role requires. As Calaf, tenor Roumen Doikov is a find. His rich, vibrant voice filled the hall, and his famous aria, “Nessun Dorma,” aroused cheers and bravos from the audience from the sheer beauty of his voice. Another performer who was a favorite with the audience was the American soprano, Kenneithia Mitchell, who played Liu. It is no wonder she has won so many scholarships and awards. A performance that was certainly above average for a touring company.”
                  NAPLES DAILY NEWS - Corinne Dunne - Feb. 2002

Teatro Lirico Entertains a Packed House!
“The Charleston Concert Association presented Teatro Lirico D'Europa's production of G. Puccini's ‘Turandot' to a packed house on Thursday night. It is a feat itself to tour a fully staged production of Turandot' with an orchestra of 50, a 40-voice chorus and massive sets, not to mention providing singers with the physical stamina to meet the vocal demands of the lead roles. The Teatro Lirico D'Europa has put together a production that is professional, credible and entertaining. The Turandot, Irina Bozhedomova, has a trumpet-like voice that cut through the house with ease. Her “In questa reggia” filled the house with icy fury. Roumen Doikov, Calaf, has a full, dramatic tenor voice that excited as well as also carrying in all his quiet moments. Kenneithia Mitchell as Liu possesses a lovely lyric voice. The orchestra conducted by Krassimir Topolov proved quite up to the task and the chorus sounded fully professional. The sets were attractive and highly functional and the performance moves at a good pace thanks to artistic/stage director Giorgio Lalov.”  CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER - Jenni Johnson - Mar. 2002

“This TURANDOT is a very good production-even good to look at, efficient and smart. The orchestra glistened with color and the chorus resonated with power and bloodthirsty urgency. Doikov nailed “Nessun dorma,” threw his arms up in a victorious V, and brought down the house. As Calaf, he inhabits the role and is consistently believable. He's a generous and vivid singer. The 32-year-old Russian soprano, Irina Bozhedomova, has a firm, focused, sometimes even blazing voice, which the high tessitura of the title role demands. Liu was the young Korean soprano Su-Jin Lee, who can pull her big voice back into the most delicate pianissimo. She has an expressive face too.”               BOSTON PHOENIX - Lloyd Schwartz - Mar. 2002

 

It's no riddle why TURANDOT is a treat!
“Puccini's TURANDOT was the opera that introduced Teatro Lirico D'Europa to Boston two years ago. Once again the Teatro Lirico proved that it's got exactly the kind of voices-and the kind of nerve-that make this difficult to cast opera really sing. Conductor Krassimir Topolov led a musically passionate performance with company stalwart tenor Roumen Doikov on hand as the exiled Calaf and two most promising young sopranos as the women vying for his affections. As the royal riddler, Russian soprano, Irina Bozhedomova, displayed an attractive stage presence and sang with a bright, surprisingly girlish tone. Her voice projected easily. She vividly conveyed the character's pride, fear, and finally love, through sensitive facial expressions. Doikov, of course, kept his head, and his splendid rendition of “Nessun dorma” brought down the house.”        BOSTON HERALD - T. J. Medrek - Mar. 2002

Russian Soprano lifts stellar TURANDOT
“Wednesday night's TURANDOT is the best performance the Teatro Lirico D'Europa has brought us so far, better even than the production of this same opera two years ago. Irina Bozhedomova (Turandot) has an expressive theater face and the soprano has a fascinating voice with a girlish timbre she can shoot through a magnifying glass so that high notes burst into flame. She sings with imagination. Liu, the American soprano, Kenneithia Mitchell, offered a compelling contrast to Bozhedomova's voice. It is ample, warm and vibrant and she has the ability to perch a soft high note with perfect poise. Best of all, she suffuses every phrase she sings with emotion. The audience adored her. Roumen Doikov rose to the occasion, acting with concern and conviction, and singing with power, breadth of phrase, and passion. He concluded “Nessun dorma” with a sweeping vocal flourish and wide-flung arms, and the audience went crazy! The handsome production was spruced up, and the staging is the most persuasive work company director Giorgio Lalov has given us to date. The splendid chorus could have walked away with the show if Doikov, Mitchell and Bozhedomova hadn't been there.”
                   BOSTON GLOBE - Richard Dyer - Mar. 2002

TURANDOT, Another Great Catch for Portland Concert Association!
“The TURANDOT by Teatro Lirico D'Europa was one of the best touring shows brought to Merrill Auditorium… in terms of singing, staging and musical values. One doesn't usually find singers in a touring company that make the audience jump up and shout bravo but Teatro Lirico has found one in tenor Roumen Doikov who plays Prince Calaf. Soprano, Irina Bozhedomova was imposing as Princess Turandot but soprano, Su-Jin Lee, stole the show as the slave girl Liu. The sets were marvelous for a touring company. The orchestra was excellent in Puccini's difficult score. Merrill Auditorium was filled in spite of a sloppy spring snowstorm. The audience applauded individual arias and choruses and gave the company a long standing ovation at the final curtain.”
                   PORTLAND PRESS HERALD - Christopher Hyde - Mar. 2002

CAST EQUAL TO THE CHALLENGE OF TURANDOT
“Turandot is grand opera with large -- massive crowd scenes, exotic settings, heroic arias that require voices of steely brilliance. Gold Coast Opera (in collaboration with the touring company Teatro Lirico d'Europa) made a valiant effort to present Puccini's massive canvas and managed to field a cast that was equal to the challenge on Jan. 22 at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts. The production offered some impressive vocalism. Victoria Litherland (a well traveled soprano who has sung leading roles at the New York's Metropolitan Opera) was every inch the imperious Princess Turandot, whose penalty is death for suitors who fail to solve her three riddles. By the final duet, her large dramatic voice unfurled lustrous vocalism, capped with thrilling high C's. As Liu Barbara Quintalini’s sizable lyrico-spinto soprano embraced Puccini's vocal line with impassioned fervor, bringing great poignancy to Liu's death scene. As Prince Calaf, Gabriel Gonzales displayed an ardent lyric tenor with no sign of strain in the upper range. Nessun Dorma was sung with taste as well as passion. Dimiter Stantchev brought unusual stature to the often, innocuous role of Timur. Stantchev's dark Slavic bass (in the manner of Ivan Petrov and Boris Christoff) exalted in rotund declamation.” 
                   SOUTHFLORIDA.COM - Lawrence Budmen – Jan. 2007

“This "Turandot" was produced by Teatro Lirico D'Europa, which has brought "Tosca," "The Marriage of Figaro" and other fine operas to Daytona Beach, went all out with glorious sets, lavish costumes, good casting and lively choreography and direction -- not to mention the orchestra's rousing performance. Liu's arias in Act I, when she sings of her love for Calaf, and before her death in Act III were superb: rich, ringing, inspired. And the tenor brought the house down with his "Nessun dorma." "Turandot" left its audience delighted.”  DAYTONA BEACH NEWS JOURNAL – Laura Stewart – Jan. 2007

“Jenny,
Turandot was FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The audience did not want to leave the theatre! They were so thrilled. We have many opera "buffs" and they all were raving. Many said they never had the opportunity to see Turandot live and were thrilled that they could see it in "their" theatre.
Thank you (and Giorgio - who by the way is a hit at our dinners)
for all you do to bring wonderful opera to the US.”
Jeanne Sigal - Garde Arts Center, New London, CT - Feb. 2007

Glorious voices answer in 'Turandot'
“For spectacle, Puccini's "Turandot" is exceeded only by Verdi's "Aida." It would seem an iffy choice for a touring production. It was hardly to be expected, therefore, that Teatro Lirico D'Europa's production at Cutler Majestic Theater on Friday would have half the audience on its feet. It triumphed by having principal singers with glorious voices and considerable stage savvy. Puccini's genius helped, too.

"Turandot" was Puccini's last opera, and his most fantastical. The story, like many fairy tales, is built around a princess with a problem. For Princess Turandot, daughter of the Chinese emperor, the problem is the rape and murder of a distant ancestor, another princess, which has left her (never mind how) with an implacable anger at men. Princes try for her hand and, when they fail to answer her riddles, find themselves headless. Enter Calaf, a prince in disguise, to break the ice princess's resistance and make her his bride. With its seamless construction and delicate Oriental touches, Puccini's score creates an atmosphere of myth and magic while advancing the emotional tale with great economy. The central love story is shrewdly interlaced with two subplots, one involving Calaf's father and the slave girl Liu, who have come to Peking looking for Calaf, and the other, the comic ministers of the executioner, Ping, Pang, and Pong. As a result, our attention moves back and forth between the simple, tender emotions of the secondary characters -- affection, devotion, humor -- and the mythical erotic duel of Calaf and Turandot.

Teatro Lirico is a touring company of mostly eastern European singers that has visited Boston often since it began touring in the United States in 1998, after a decade in Europe. Founding director Giorgio Lalov imports an all-Bulgarian chorus and orchestra and hires most of his leading singers from the opera houses of Sofia and other eastern European capitals, which seem to be bursting with big voices.

Heroic ones are needed for Calaf and Turandot. The Bulgarian tenor Roumen Doikov as Calaf has a tenor of bronze, and uses it skillfully. He was not a romantic ideal; he wandered around the stage like a professional wrestler, challenging anyone to a fight. As Turandot, the Russian-born Olga Chernisheva is tall and achingly beautiful, with an appealing, dark-hued voice. It lacks the ideal sword-point gleam at the very top, but she managed the torturous high line and drew and kept your eye.

The Liu of Elena Razgylyaeva, another Russian, was touching and rose to tragic grandeur in her Act II confrontation with Turandot. Hristo Sarafov, Yuri Nikolov, and Georgi Dinev, as the comic ministers, were superb in their long Act II trio, sung before the curtain. Krassimir Topolov conducted with taut discipline.
What more could one want? Teatro Lirico aims high, and comes very close to its mark.”
                  David Perkins – BOSTON GLOBE – Feb. 2007

Turandot appropriately lavish

“Where sweet lovers come to die.” Now there’s a great definition of opera. Actually, it’s a line, translated from the Italian in Puccini’s “Turandot,” which was performed by the Teatro Lirico D’Europa on Tuesday night at Proctor’s Theatre. Love and death were in ample supply. It’s probably written down somewhere that the titular princess Turandot must sport a huge shining headdress and soprano Olga Chernisheva came well supplied, with about 10 inches of gold and rubies. But more importantly, any singer taking on the role must have strong high notes and plenty of power to sustain them.

Chernisheva was equipped there too. Tenor Roumen Doikov, too delivered the goods vocally, especially in the crowd-pleasing hit `Nessun Dorma.’ As Liu, soprano Elena Razgylyaeva confessed her anguished love with an unbridled and beautiful sound, pitch perfect in its legato soar upward. She was a soft counterpoint to Turandot’s severity. Ping, Pang and Pong gave the best ensemble performances of the evening. The orchestra was impressive in the exposed fanfares and thunderclaps of act two. Conductor Krassimir Topolov always kept Puccini’s pacing in full tilt.”  
                  ALBANY TIMES UNION – Joseph Dalton – Feb. 2007

“Teatro Lirico D’Europa presented Puccini’s final opera TURANDOT on Tuesday night at Proctor’s Theatre. There were many good things about the production. Tenor Roumen Doikov as Calaf, the prince showed solid stamina, projected with strength and thrilled
the large crowd with the famous third act aria, ”Nessun dorma.” As Princess TURANDOT, soprano Olga Chernisheva sang with intensity and forcefulness. Her voice was quite dramatic in its color. Dimiter Stantchev as Calaf’s father Timur had a resonant smooth bass that projected easily over the orchestra. Soprano Elena Razgylyaeva as Timur’s slave girl was fabulous. Her voice was of such clear purity and she sang with such immaculate phrasing, diction and superb control of her range that her two big arias didn’t seem enough. She was also the best actress. Costumes in the royal court were appropriately ornate in a palette of ivory, coral and blues. And the dragon scrim was terrific. The orchestra under Krassimir Topolov was energetic.”      
                  SCHENECTADY GAZETTE – Geraldine Freedman – Feb. 2007

About TURANDOT at Rockford’s Coronado Theatre: Feb. 2007
Jenny, the opera was simply wonderful.  The singing was wonderful, the sets and costumes were wonderful, and your company is gracious and lovely to work with.  We look forward to future engagements.  THANK YOU.
Mary Ann Smith
Coronado Theatre, Rockford, IL

Turandot was Puccini's final opera, and, appropriately, the final operatic performance by Teatro Lirico d'Europa this season at the Blanche Touhill Performing Arts Center. After having seen all three of the productions-Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor and Turandot-I was most impressed and overwhelmed with Turandot. From its gorgeous and vivid performances to the beautifully detailed set, Turandot was a stunning spectacle and a captivating emotional experience. This production of Turandot featured breathtaking and passionate performances by its entire cast. In particular, Soprano Olga Chernisheva gave a strong, vibrant performance as the cold Turandot. Her physicality and facial expressions were honest and colorful, and her voice a myriad of melodic sounds and strong emotions. Rouman Doikov provided Prince Calaf with a strong, vibrant voice, rich in texture and powerful in emotion. His egotism and self-confidence command the whole stage, giving the role a powerful and engaging quality.
Visually, Turandot was spectacular. The costumes were colorful, vibrant, and added a gorgeous contrast to the beautiful set design. The lavish set featured a beautiful scrim painting of a Chinese village, along with a striking palace that boasted incredible detail and even more luminous colors. The lighting effects were also noteworthy; various light changes and the use of colored lighting thoroughly set the mood throughout the performance. In particular, the use of a red spot to draw attention to the executioner was solemn and especially effective in setting the appropriate mood.”
              www.kdhx.org - Kelly Levins – Moore – Feb. 2007

  READ MORE REVIEWS
Donizetti's LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
Mussorgsky's BORIS GODOUNOV
Pucinni's TURANDOT
Puccini's LA BOHEME
Puccini's Madama BUTTERFLY
Puccini's TOSCA
Bizet's CARMEN

G. Verdi's AIDA
G. Verdi's RIGOLETTO
G. Verdi's IL TROVATORE
G. Verdi's LA TRAVIATA
Rossini's IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA
Strauss's DIE FLEDERMAUS

 
   
 
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