eight open-air performances took take place on the square in front of
the palace which is today called the People's
Cultural Palace. This palatial compound is surrounded by gardens
and used to be a meeting place of noblemen and an imperial audience
venue for the Emperor in past times.
highly acclaimed Florence Turandot production (Mehta/Yimou, 1997)
formed the foundation for these performances. Naturally, the new visual
and acoustic challenges provided by the Beijing setting were used to
advantage: The chorus and extras were be greatly augmented by over 200
Chinese artists. The stage sets were not only be enlarged but in important
aspects, changed and supplemented, to fill the 82-meter-wide venue.
royal custom played an important role in this production-for example,
authentic drums from the Emperor's era were used impressively by a group
of over 80 drummers to announce the start of the opera, and large-scale
hand-decorated panels covered with red and gold-leaf took the place
of a stage curtain.
acoustic quality of a performance is of particular importance to Maestro
Mehta and the finest sound engineers were engaged to provide necessary
amplification for the enormous open-air space, including the Sound Director
from the Vienna