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I quite enjoyed the cinema broadcast.

The scene with Ping Pang Pong was probably written to allow for the set changes and costume changes backstage.

(The Met paused the whole production for 45 minutes to change the set, but many other productions will not do this. The longer scene probably allows a simpler production time to transition from Act I to Act II without such a long pause).

The Royal Opera House production I saw gave Ping Pang & Pong a lighter touch. They were closer to Gilbert & Sullivan characters providing comic relief to the horror that was going on. Certainly they had a Mikadoesque tone.

In this production, they reflected horror and boredom more. I got a sense that the royal court was tired of Turandot's games and all the blood shed. They wanted to move on, and wanted Turandot to move on. (at least I think I got that from the sub-text). I didn't "get into" the production until the second act. There seemed to be some formal stand-offishness in the first act. But, this made Turandot's determination to have her suitors beheaded seem more serious. An attempt to move from a "chocolate box" opera to something more serious in intent, perhaps?

In this production I felt that Turandot was resisting growing up - she was trying to stay a child, and at the end found that she could not resist (and did not want to). She changes from a girl to a woman through Calaf's love.

The ending did look rather threadbare, and didn't quite match the opulent opera that had gone before it.
 
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