The Turandot Project (2001)
In 1997, orchestra leader Zubin Mehta, long noted for his fondness for unusual and challenging projects, had an idea to stage a new version of Puccini's opera +Turandot. While the opera is set in China during the Ming Dynasty, Mehta's desire was to stage a version that relied less on outmoded stereotypes and more on the realities of life in China during that period. Working with Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, Mehta staged an acclaimed new production of +Turandot in Italy. A year later, Mehta and Yimou began an even more ambitious plan -- to bring their +Turandot to China, where it would be performed with a massive cast of Italian and Chinese performers on an outdoor stage at the fabled Forbidden City. In The Turandot Project, documentary filmmaker Allan Miller captures the long and often difficult process by which Puccini's opera was brought back to the land that inspired it -- and the considerable culture shock both the Italian and Chinese artists suffered along the way. The Turandot Project was shown at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Turandot Project
When Miller's documentary succeeds, it succeeds in conveying the minor miracle of pulling off any monstrous stage production: part diplomacy, part warfare, part vision.
Succeeds because of the monumental spectacle of all those people bringing Puccini's masterpiece to an audience.
A sturdy, workmanlike job, evincing a high degree of competence if not a great deal of imagination.
Turandot emerges triumphant, but by the time it does, Mr. Zhang looks considerably older.
Worthy viewing for anyone concerned about the state of classical arts.
Presumably there's an interesting yarn buried in the project, but Allan Miller's drab, diffuse documentary never quite locates it.
A fascinating peek not only at the world of opera but also at the discipline, artistry and the pride of the Chinese.
Mainly this is a film about what goes on backstage when you put on an opera, and that in itself was a treat to see.
To see this passion playing out, to experience how much this production did mean to China, allows The Turandot Project to attain levels of emotion that complement those of Puccini's classic.
The most interesting clashes are the cultural ones.
the dedication they [Zubin Mehta and Zhang Yimou] display in putting on such a monumental work is a pleasure to watch.
an engrossing account of a world event where beautiful, glorious music and theater unite us all.
Miller has gone from relatively small-scale subjects into immensity with a delight called The Turandot Project.
A confusing, rather shapeless disappointment that fails to provide the viewer with a sense of the production's scale or storied beauty.
The sheer scale of the production, and the size of the venue, make the film interesting to watch.
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