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THE TURANDOT PROJECT

USA / Germany, 2000 (MIFF 2001, Documentaries)

Director: Allan Miller

"A terrifically engaging portrait of an elephantine cross cultural endeavour, veteran music-documentary specialist Allan Miller's The Turandot Project trains a wry yet respectful eye on the production of Puccini's opera that travelled from Florence to Beijing's Forbidden City—ruffling multinational feathers as well as fostering good will every step of the way. A real-life inspirational comedy that should beguile viewers regardless of their operatic taste (or distaste). Exquisite singing from soloists Lando Bartolini, Sharon Sweet, Barbara Hendricks and others as well as the production's dazzling pageantry is well captured by Tom Hurwitz, who always seems to be in the right place to catch amusing or tell-tale backstage minidramas. Given the daunting location-recording circumstances, sound design is exemplary."—Variety

Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern) teams with Zubin Mehta and makes a marvellous transition from film to opera. A US$14 million dollar budget for the Beijing performance, a cast of over 400 with 900 costumes and 2000 backstage wardrobe workers alone. Phenomenal.

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