An­drea Bo­celli fails to im­press in Puc­cini’s ‘Turandot’


The phe­nom­e­non known as An­drea Bo­celli is at it again, re­leas­ing his 11th com­plete opera record­ing. This time he takes on the tenor role of Calaf in Puc­cini’s fi­nal, un­fin­ished opera, “Turandot,” best known for the stir­ring aria “Nes­sun dorma,” im­mor­tal­ized by Bo­celli’s Ital­ian com­pa­triot Lu­ciano Pavarotti.

With ca­reer sales ex­ceed­ing 150 mil­lion records, Bo­celli is as close to be­ing critic- proof as any artist could be. So it may mat­ter lit­tle to his ador­ing fans to point out that this is a mis­guided un­der­tak­ing, ex­pos­ing the folly of even the most ex­pert pop vo­cal­ist try­ing to pose as an opera singer.

From his open­ing lines — “Padre, mio padre!” — Bo­celli’s voice is thin and ef­fort­ful. There is no heroic heft to his voice, a re­quire­ment in this de­mand­ing role. In the rid­dle scene, with its bat­tle- of- the- high- notes duet, he is out­matched by Amer­i­can so­prano Jen­nifer Wil­son’s im­pres­sive Turandot.

Be­sides Wil­son, who will be mak­ing a be­lated Metropoli­tan Opera de­but next fall as the icy Chi­nese princess, the cast in- cludes Ital­ian so­prano Jes­sica Nuccio as the slave girl Liu and a re­mark­able Ukrainian bass, Alexan­der Tsym­ba­lyuk, who in­vests the role of Timur, Calaf’s fa­ther, with plan­gent tone.

Con­duc­tor Zu­bin Me­hta, lead­ing the Orques­tra de la Co­mu­ni­tat Va­len­ciana, does a fine job of bring­ing out the daz­zling col­ors and moods in Puc­cini’s most am­bi­tious score.

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