American Soprano Anastasiya Roytman Will Sing The Title Role In TURANDOT For 2020 International Music Festival
American soprano Anastasiya Roytman will sing the title role in Giacomo Puccini's Turandot, the featured, fully staged opera production of the 2020 International Music Festival Český Krumlov next August. The renown festival is the longest running summer music festival in the Czech Republic. Ms. Roytman will reprise the role she inaugurated, in Tomáš Ondřej Pilar's production of Puccini's classic 1906 opera, inspired by the poem "Seven Beauties written in 1197 by Azerbaijani poet and philosopher Nizami Ganjavi, upon which Puccini's original opera was based.
The International Music Festival Český Krumlov is a favorite destination for audiences traveling to the culturally rich area triangulating Prague, Český Krumlov and Vienna. Essential to the festival's appeal is its "main stage" the technical marvel known as the Revolving Theatre. Set within the historic, fairytale setting of the Česky Krumlov Castle Complex the Revolving theater literally rotates its amphitheater seating 360 degrees, enabling the audience to partake in the ultimate panoramic outdoor venue of century old trees and Baroque architecture of the Bellaria summer palace.
Daringly conceived by Tomáš Ondřej Pilar this new production of Turandot brilliantly exploits the cinematic capabilities unique to the Český Krumlov Castle's Revolving Theatre. Pilar structures Turandot into a series of dramatic frames, which focus the audience's attention on a montage of "wide angle" action scenes, which capture the epic scope of Turandot's mythic kingdom juxtaposing intimate "close-ups" that delve into the personal drama of Princess Turandot, her mysterious suitor Calaf, and the valiant and inspirational servant girl, Liu.
Pilar's resulting interpretation is both psychologically modern - while remaining true to Puccini's original intent for his opera which was never finished and resulted in the Maestro's final masterwork. Central to Pilar's interpretation and the premiere production's success are the featured soloists, who are asked to reimagine their performances through staging, which is risky and unorthodox, while singing some of the most challenging and highly anticipated arias in the opera repertoire.
"Spectators can look forward to stellar opera soloists applauded by renowned opera house such as the Palau des Arts in Valencia, the Gran Teatro la Fenice in Venice, the Opera in Wroclaw, Poland and the Grand Theater in Moscow, Wexford Opera Festival and the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York" announced Mr. Pilar in an interview with the Czech press - "Soloists with a dazzling reputation- literally from all over the world!"
As Turandot, soprano Anastasiya Roytman brings her prodigious talent, youthful charisma and cinematic persona to the leading role. Praised for her "magnetic stage presence" and her "dramatic intensity" by Opera News, the striking, young soprano is quickly establishing herself as one of the most exciting talents in the international opera world today having performed some of the most demanding roles in the dramatic soprano repertoire. The prestigious world stages which Ms. Roytman has sung include the Bolshoi Theater, Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall, International House of Music, Musikverein and Carnegie Hall
Tomáš Ondřej Pilar's expansive vision commanded the requisite talents of internationally accomplished designers which included the scenographer Jan Polívka, the majestic "Chinese" costumes by Aleš Valášek, whose work will be featured in the upcoming 2020 season at Glimmerglass and choreography by Sergej Škalikov, a graduate of the prestigious Russian Institute of Theatre Arts GITIS in Moscow. Mario De Rose masterfully conducts Puccini's lush and exotic score leading over 200 members of the orchestra and chorus.
Initial press response to the 2019 opening night performance was enthusiastic- evidenced by numerous articles and television spots and an overwhelming response on the web. Prague opera critic Helena Havlíková praised the bold, new production writing "The soloists took full advantage of the dynamics of (scenic) change with Bellaria as an imperial palace, a pavilion with a giant lantern or a meadow with dozens of illuminated tear-shaped balloons...soloists without the help of sound technology must sing dramatic parts and project the sound throughout the park. In the lead roles, all have stood the lead, with Anastasia Roytman as Turandot and Paolo Lardizzone in the role of Calaf. " Opera Plus, the Czech Republic's leading online arts portal praised Pilar's production as a "Magnificent Turandot in front of the revolving auditorium" and said "Anastasia Roytman as Turandot, (with) her voluminous dramatic soprano, created a convincingly proud, cruel, bossy princess with a resentment toward men, who eventually succumbed to love."
In Ms. Roytman's rendition of Turandot's signature aria "In questa reggia" one hears Puccini's master aria, the chilling account of the violent death of Turandot's ancestral princess at the hands of a foreign conqueror. It is this unrequited crime that has become the reason for Turandot's existence and supplanting Turandot's individuality and ability to understand and feel love.
Throughout her performance Ms. Roytman chooses to navigate Puccini's challenging music and Pilar's risky and unprecedented staging fully utilizing the scope and scale of the Revolving Theatre. This new production reimagines scenes traditionally staged while singing in place and in formal dress, now depicting Turandot in motion, or having fallen to the ground with costumes in "dishabille." The effect fully realizes the vulnerability of Ms. Roytman's interpretation of Turandot. She manages the opera's complexity by embracing the unique chemistry and tremendous impact the roles of Liu and Calaf have in her character's problematic transformation from an imperious female icon to a fully realized woman capable of learning the true meaning of leadership, sacrifice and love.
Of the August 2019 opening night performance of Turandot noted journalist Peter Stoličný of EuroZpráv.cz, a daily news portal reporting on the economy, sport, culture, science, technology of the Czech Republic and abroad, had this to say,
"Tomáš Ondřej Pilař directed the entire performance ...with a perfectionist approach to the visualization of the whole work. Taking advantage of the possibilities of the open air scene - with a revolving auditorium - can't be seen anywhere else in the world... dozens of fire torches, glowing balloons flying into the sky, colorful lights and sophisticated smoke effects, the use of flickering, silky red flags ... full of playful fantasy and terrific dramatic expression. Ales Valášek imaginative costumes in the opera Turandot perfectly characterized the characters and choirs in the production. The scenic design of Jan Polívka used all the possibilities of the Bellarie Summerhouse, trees, alleyways, grassy areas and distant perspectives ... while walking, running, or in a suggestive stop. The choreography of Sergei Shkalikov used all the possibilities of scene and movement (too).
The beautiful and cruel Chinese princess Turandot - sung at the premiere by the American (originally Russian) soprano Anastasiya Roytman, sounded pure and distinctly cruel. We have never heard a Turandot like that."
In his article's closing remarks Peter Stoličný strongly urges cultural power brokers in the Czech Republic to take stock, and fully appreciate the unique resource which is the Revolving Theater, and the artistic potential it affords "I have seen Puccini's opera Turandot on many stages over the past fifty years. I have never seen a championship (production) such as this."