“Turandot” Debuts At Beijing’s Bird’s Nest

Zhang Yimou Directs The Puccini Masterpiece For Second Time

Zhang Yimou is directing "Turandot" for the second time; This time in a much newer venue

Zhang Yimou is directing "Turandot" for the second time; This time in a much newer venue

Chinese director Zhang Yimou has, over the years, become the “go-to” man for large-scale productions in China. From his “Impression” shows in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and elsewhere in China to the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics, Zhang has developed a name for himself as more than a filmmaker. This week, Zhang flexes his theatrical muscles once again, directing the Puccini opera Turandot for the second time (the first was in 1998) at one of the country’s largest venues — Beijing’s National Stadium, colloquially known as the “Bird’s Nest.”

Sina English, via Xinhua, writes about the debut performance:

The opera began at about 7:30 p.m. The composing team set up a 1,000 square meter screen with 40 million pixels and 32 projectors at the stadium.

“The Bird’s Nest version of ‘Turandot’ brings to the audience a completely new audio-visual feast with modern and fashionable elements,” said Zhang.

Nearly 1,000 performers participated in the opera, including the Italian conductor Janos Acs and well-known Chinese singers. The total investment of the opera reaches 120 million yuan (17.57 million U.S. dollars).

“Turandot” will still be on stage at the National Stadium on Wednesday and will be on show in Shanghai next May.

It is not the first time Zhang has directed the opera, which was composed by Italian Giacomo Puccini. He first staged the opera at the Forbidden City in 1998.

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