GP at the Met: Turandot
Preview the Opera

Franco Zeffirelli’s glittering production of Puccini’s Turandot, with Maria Guleghina in the title role and Marcello Giordani as Calàf,  makes its debut on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met. Marina Poplavskaya sings Liù, Samuel Ramey is Timur, and conductor Andris Nelsons makes his Great Performances at the Met debut. With its grand, dazzling sets, the production by Franco Zeffirelli has been an audience favorite since its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 1987 and the New York Times has called this Turandot “the Met at its best.”

Turandot airs on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met on PBS on Sunday, February 28 at noon EST (check local listings).

Watch a preview:

Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG – one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

Great Performances at the Met: Turandot is the fourth of 10 productions airing this season during the 2009-2010 series. The performance is sung in Italian with English surtitles. The set designs are by Zeffirelli. Costume designs are by Anna Anni and Dada Saligeri, and the lighting designer is Gil Wechsler. Chiang Ching is the choreographer and supervisor of stylized movement, and the stage director is David Kneuss.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers and PBS. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home-builder®.

For the Met, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.

  • Randy Baer

    As much as I look forward to this production, and, as much as I admired Zefirelli’s original with Domingo, it should be noted that the so-called NY Times rave is, in fact, something of a pan. Saying that Puccini’s final uncomplete opera can be more than mere gaudy pageantry, and that the current production has the emotional impact of a night at the Ice Capades, well, that’s not meant to be taken as a positibe, not in my book.

  • ally

    I’d like to second Randy Baer. This is a very unfortunate choice of quote here. Also, I find this production beautiful and exactly what Puccini would have wanted. Don’t forget that the story of Turandot was originally a fairy tale, and Zeffirelli’s sets create exactly this magical atmosphere. As to “emotional impact” – I prefer to be able to get my own interpretation based on music and sets that follow the composer’s directions as these sets are than having to suffer through some half-baked “high concept” productions the author of this NY Times article clearly prefers. Let’s not allow preferences on one person and opinion of one journalist to discourage viewers from watching this gorgeous productions. BTW — when is this going to be show in NY area? As a subscriber to PBS I deeply resent this not being on schedule in my area in either February or March.

  • Robert White

    I just watched the Aida on Great Performances, and it is one of their best, but as per usual, there appear to be no repeats. The Turandot is now scheduled for Feb. 28th at noon. They say noon, when they really mean 12:15 and even that is usually pushed another 8-10 minutes. It always amazes me that as a co-producer, Thirteen treats this flagship program like so much used tissue. I pony up $250 each year because the HD telecasts when they occur are better than any other format (Met Player, DVD). But I refuse to give more because Thirteen is more concerned with re-running a 20 year old film (Dangerous Liaisons) that is an OK film, but easily reproduced in terms of quality from any DVD rental. Thirteen almost never answers complaints, but hopefully they will read the page and get at least mildly embarrassed. Where are you Neal Shapiro? For the record,
    it appears the next telecast after Turandot on Feb. 28th is Wed. March 24th at 8PM. All of course is subject to change without notice.

  • Jeff

    Indeed an unfortunate choice of quote. And, I too am puzzeled by 13’s poor schedualing and notifications.

  • Frank

    After what WNET/13 did to the LA Phil’s opening night concert with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the music of Mahler, I no longer have much faith in 13’s commitment to the arts. That broadcast surely ranks at the very bottom of anything I have ever watched on public television. In case you missed it, a trail of messages about contributing to 13 rolled across the center of the screen (not even at the bottom!) at approx. 2-3 minute intervals throughout the symphony. Disgusting. It really completely destroyed the televised concert. Why bother even showing it?

  • Bethany

    I am a 14 year old girl living on the West Coast with a family that hates opera. I have absolutely no way to watch what I love without PBS. However, my channel (KPBS-San Diego) never airs commercials about upcoming performances except the few minutes preceding the show, once it is too late. Sometimes, GP @ the Met simply will not air at all, an example being this production of Turandot (which does not shop up on their calenders for the next 2 months at least). Once, the only way I could watch La Boheme was at 3 AM Christmas Day. This has to stop. I hope that Thirteen and PBS will realize that this entire series cannot be skipped as it is a vital part of PBS and many people’s only means to access the arts. I truly hope that Turandot will show up on the schedule.

  • Louis

    I live in Fort Worth TX where I can receive PBS locally on KERA. I also have a C-Band dish where I can receive PBS on Nebraska Educational TV (NET). Neither station has Turandot listed for February 28, and in the past the listings have been almost at the last minute. I agree with Bethany that PBS should realize that Great Performances from the Met is a vital part of PBS, and should show up on PBS stations schedules as soon as possible.

  • Ted Snowdon

    I agree, more Met Opera on PBS, with more showings. It’s a good thing I looked up this schedule online, or I’d have never known about TURANDOT this week or HOFFMANN in March, because these wonderful things are now promoted so poorly, if at all. (And I am a regular Met goer on the lookout for these kinds of TV shows.) Also, who was the moron at GP who put that quote on the blip above? Not only was the NY Times critic snubbing Zefferelli (as they always try to do), he is plain dead wrong. TURANDOT is not a deep emotional work; it is a fun junky opera, no great masterpiece, with a dramatically unacceptable final scene that Puccini knew was in trouble when he died. It needs all the glitz it can get, always has and always will. Zefferelli’s over-the-top glitz makes it better than it is. Only the Liu death scene packs any emotional punch. (BTW, I’ve seen all the great Turandots, from Nilsson onward, and every Liu has stolen the show from her, every single time! That just tells you how feeble the final duet is.)

  • Bud King

    I live in Los Angeles, and trying to ‘navigate’ thru our PBS Station’s Web-site (KCET) is like trying to solve the Da Vinci Code.

    I was able to view the MET’S HD TURANDOT earlier – and was looking forward to an entertaining afternoon on 28 Feb for another repeat of this Opera.

    I just got thru checking KCET’S web-site (UGH!!!) and see that GREAT PERFORMANCES is NOT showing this production of TURANDOT – when they DID advertise that they were going to do so.

    KCET does NOT promote these productions ONE BIT – and I can well understand why they have so many fund-raising events (how many? Every 1-2-3 months?????) as they leave us, their patrons, gasping for more really GREAT PERFORMANCES.

    Today is Friday, 26 Feb 2010, and I will ‘check-back’ on KCET’S troublesome web-site to see if they are, indeed, going to air this production of TURANDOT!!! Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe in FAIRIES???

  • ally

    I keep looking and looking for when WNET/Thirteen will get around showing it, but there is nothing in March (no schedule for April yet), no Turandot and no Hoffman. I posted before, and sent email, but I think that WNET/Thirteen no longer cares about its subscribers. As some posters above mentioned, Great Performances at the Met is THE ONLY REASON I donate money to PBS. If they stop showing it, there’ll be no reason for me to donate any money to thirteen.

    PBS used to show it in primetime, in the evenings and then had a repeat on Sundays, but now it’s Sunday afternoon and not even in all areas. And after Aida which was shown a couple of week after it was shown everywhere else, there is nothing. Instead there are some shows that have already been shown before.

    Also, PBS used to answer posts of emails about broadcasting, but now they no longer care about their subscribers.

  • Jerome Shore

    I am one of those fortunate enough to have attended a production of Turandot in the 60’s with Corelli and Nillson.There are no words to properly describe the event.
    As a result it became my most favorite opera.
    I have seen it twice in other productions.
    I disconnect the phone whenever it has been broadcast. to prevent distractions.
    So despite the offhand comments from the reviewer I plan to watch it,and take the phone off the receiver.
    Incidentally a few months ago there was a telecast of an Aida from La Scala in Milan.Sorry Met-it was far superior in the singing-Alagna was Rhadames-the acting-the singers actually acted as well as sang and in the staging.

  • alan s

    Well, today is 2/28 and no showing of Turandot on Channel 13 in NY. Another disappointment. I see that Tales of Hoffman will be shown on Wed evening 3/24 but that will mean that Turandot was skipped since it is #4 in this year’s lineup and Tales is #5.

    I also contribute every year to the Met and Channel 13. I am emailing both to ask them why Turandot was not shown after they announced it will be and when will it be shown. If I do not receive an answer I will not respond to their fund raising requests this year.

  • Alana London

    When will Turandot be broadcast in NYC? My guide for February did not list it. I did not receive a guide yet for March and it is March already. What is going on over there? I will not subscribe or donate again if the operas are not announced and broadcast in a timely fashion. I will simply watch 13 for free like most other people. Alana

  • Issbelle

    Well, like Alan, I couldn’t see Turandot here in the border with El Paso, Txs, where I receibe the chanel by my cable tv. It was such a sad thing to me since my sister and I were expecting it. Instead they presented Madama Butterfly. I must say that, honestly, I do wanted to see Puccini’s Butterfly..but I was wondering if we are going to see it or if it’s just going to be skipped.
    My first thought was that, since there was a lot of wind, the signal could have been failing and stuff. But since Alan is in NY..well..
    I hope this web could answer our questions.

  • Borodino resident

    “the Met at it’s best”

    If people working for Public Television don’t know the difference between “it’s” and “its”, what hope is there for the language?

  • jenny hanniver

    The music is fabulous, these singers were great (especially Poplavskaya as Liu) but as a woman I keep wanting to giggle or send a raspberry to the librettist. The unsubtle plot is completely a male fantasy that, one hopes, will go away.

  • david ernst


    Thank you for your interest in GP @ the Met. We’re working on scheduling a WNET air-date for sometime in the near future. Please check the WNET schedule here for the most up-to-date information. We’ll post in the comments field here once we have a solid date. Thanks again and stay tuned!

  • Cole Arnou

    There has got to be a better why for wnet channel 713 in NYC to let its viewers know when the live from the Met
    HD transmissions will be.
    I have been a opera fantic since 1963, however I have been unemployed for the last 23months and can’t afford to go to the met to see opera. I am relying on public television to give me my fixes of the thing that I love the most. Can’t you at least put up on your web page the dates of all you up comming programs in enough time so that people get a heads up and not loose out. Maybe an e-mail to people who request it, but certainly you know what your broadcast schedule is a month or so in advance, can’t you at least post on your page. The way it is being handled now is a total waste, you should be able to do a better job.

  • Louis

    I am pleased to say that KERA, Dallas-Fort Worth aired Torandot on February 28, but I only found out that this was going to happen by reading the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s TV listings for the week beginning February 28. I was born and raised in New York City and can not believe that a PBS Station in Texas would be ahead of WETA in NYC in announcing when Great Performances at the Met Broadcast will be aired. I am now looking forward to the broadcast of Hoffman this Month, but don’t expect to find out on till the last minute.

  • Louis

    I am pleased to say that KERA, Dallas-Fort Worth plans to air Les Contes D’Hoffmann this Wednesday, March 24, at 8:PM. I also wish to apologize for referring to the PBS station in New York as WETA instead of WNET. I lived in Bethesda MD for 25 years before coming to Texas, and confused the call letters for those of the Washington DC station.

  • ally

    WNET/thirteen still hasn’t shown it and hasn’t any plans to do it – nothing in March or April. This is ridiculous. Why did they choose to skip Turandot? Instead they repeated some of the broadcasts that were shown before.

    @David Ernst — what exactly is NEAR FUTURE? And why did you decide to skip Turandot to begin with instead of showing broadcasts in the same sequence they were shown in the movie theaters? It’s not like you had too many other quality broadcasts in March. Some repeats and such.

  • Isabel

    I wish you do a better job at promoting upcoming programs on TV and on this site. I watch Thirteeen nearly everyday, No mention of Hamlet and not even on the main Websites. I found out in Feburary from other people’s online sites; April 28 showing of Hamlet!

  • Frank McLarney

    I am amazed at 13’s lack of concern for its viewers: I watched the “Tosca” and “Aida” telecasts – just lucky enough to see them listed in our local TV guide. The “Turandot”, however, was never listed. Our Sunday ritual begins with an immediate perusal of our newspaper’s TV guide to see what is being broadcast around 12 noon. Since the “Aida” on February 14 there was no listing. Why isn’t some kind of advance announcement made so that those of us who love this art form can tune in? Are there any plans to re-air these broadcasts? I called 13 about it and got a lecture from the person who answered that I am not contributing enough to the station and therefore have no right to express my views. Nice, huh? Does anyone know where we can get a schedule for the upcoming broadcasts in the NYC area? I see that “Hoffmann”s scheduled for this Wednesday, March 24. What about the other broadcasts?

  • Frank McLarney

    I also noticed that “Turandot” was listed as the 4th and “Hoffmann” as the 5th broadcasts this season. I have already seen “Tosca” (which I believe was the first) and “Aida” (which I think was the second). “Turandot” would have been the third broadcast, or did I miss one?

  • Louis

    It is possible that the Robert Dornhelm movie of La Bohme with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon, which was listed under the “Great Performances” banner, and was aired between Tosca and Turandot may have been considered No. 2 in the series.

  • alan in New York

    Number 2 was The Audition
    Number 1, Tosca and Number 3 Aida already shown in NY Aida will be repeated on Th 4/1 at 8pm.
    Number 4 Turandot supposed to be shown on 2/28 was pulled by Ch 13 in NY. There has been no announcement as to why or when it will be shown altho someone mentioned to me it may be shown in May.
    5. Tales of Hoffman was shown last night 3/24 and will be repeated S 4/4 at noon.
    6. Rosenkavalier S 4/25 noon

  • alan in NY

    9. Hamlet W 4/28 8pm and Sun 7/18 noon
    7. Carmen S 5/16 noon
    8. Simon Boccanegra S 6/20
    10.Armida S 8/22 noon

    If I get any definite info on Turandot I will post it here for the benefit of those in the NY area who receive Channel 13.

    I am shocked that Channel 13 and the Great Performances websites and the Met website does not have a schedule posted. I have gotten so many young people interested in opera by telling them to watch these telecasts. Some have come back to me and said they had no interest. Most of them have been fascinated and many of those have gone to watch the Theatre productions and bought tickets to the Met to see opera live for the first time. I thought that was the intent of having these operas televised. But not advertising or listing when they will be on certainly defeats the purpose.

  • Patrick

    Sorry I missed this one,didn’t check my local schedule in tiime to view it. I have seen the local Opera Company perform this one, altough not the Zeffirelli a nicely done regional production. I hope that PBS will release this one at some time in the future for home viewing consumption either on DVD or my choice Blu Ray so it can be viewed by those of us who missed it.

  • Sheila Lanz-Jimenez

    I find it hard to understand that some people are complaining that they are not receiving the telecasts from the Met live, you should be happy that you are getting it at all! Our local stations in Southern California have decided that they don’t have to telecast such things.
    Remember the old days when there used to be telecasts of opera on Prime Time? That doesn’t happen anymore at the local PBS stations here in Southern California.
    There was once a time when I used to watch KCET all of the time, now I hardly ever watch anything on that station anymore. In the last couple of years I have not always renewed my membership on KCET. I think that it is time to totally stop giving any money at all when there is so very little for me to watch.

  • Bethany

    KPBS finally broadcast Turandot at noon today, which means that we’re at least one opera off. It’s becoming increasingly frustrating.
    But furthermore, while this page says that Maria Guleghina plays Turandot, the Met website, as well as other sources say that Lise Lindstrom is playing the title role. Can someone please clarify? What is up with the GP website & 13 if they continuously post false information and badly edited reviews?

  • Ally

    @Sheila Lanz-Jimenez: This is really our point – yes, we are happy that we are getting them, but what we aren’t happy about is that 1) the broadcasts like Turandot are pulled even if promised before 2) Some PBS stations like yours aren’t showing it 3) The time/date is not advertised in advanced 4) Time/date varies widely across the different stations. This creates a nightmare for those of us who want to let young people we’d like to get interested in opera know about these broadcasts.
    The recent success of “opera singers” – often of dubious quality – on popular tv talent shows like country-got-talent, shows how starved the public is this beautiful music and beautiful singing and how ready they are to really enjoy opera. But the only exposure they get is crossover. A lot of them are confused as to what opera is and think that an aria sung with a mike is “opera”. These broadcasts can go a long way in telling people what opera is and to getting new audience to opera as well as for PBS.

    There are people who dislike operatic voices. But I strongly believe that there are many people who’d loved opera if they were more exposed to it. Just watch how many hits POpera singers and winners of popular tv talent shows are getting on you tube as opposed to real opera singers. Yes, some people prefer pop voices, but I’ve seen many who simply don’t know.

    I am happy that I was able to see some of the operas at least on TV. But what I’d like to be able to do is to post in say you tube or on a relevant entry of a blog: “yes, this is nice, but if you want to listen to this aria performed in opera at the Met, you can watch it on PBS on such-and-such date”. But this doesn’t work because when people look at their own schedule they see nothing.

    PBS needs donations, but to get donations they need viewers. But then they need to show things people cannot see in other places. Opera seem to be gaining in popularity again or at least it could easily gain in popularity if people get more exposure to it, but many PBS stations just fail to see it.

  • david ernst

    Great Performances at the Met: Turandot will air locally in the greater NYC area on Thirteen/WNET on Sunday, May 31st after SundayArts at 12:30 PM and in Primetime on Thursday, June 24th at 9:00 PM. Thank you for watching Great Performances at the Met.

  • Mimi

    B E A U T I F U L
    Particularly Liu.

  • Kenneth Bennett Lane

    Luckily, for some others like me who live near enough to the “Met” Opera and have attended performances before the costs for tickets became so forbidding, and, incidentally when the casts were infinitely better, although the acting left much to be desired there WAS a “Camelot” for opera lovers and students of opera and musicians who performed in the field. We can only hope that Channel 13 will SEE the WRITING on the WALL, that their most ardent fans are opera-hungry! I am a Wagnerian heldentenor and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. website:

  • Ally

    Thank you, David.

  • william pagenkopf

    Suppose next time it will be updated to communist China!
    Please leave composers intentions alone.

    Looking forward to breeze from females fan waving…………..!!!!!!!!

  • william pagenkopf

    Better catch this folks. Next production will probably take place in communist China with “In questa reggia sung from the top of a tank………….!!

  • Robyn O’Neill

    In the last few years I have noticed the decline of all programming on our two PBS stations in the New York area. We are constantly presented with “acoustic” rock, sad group revivals with members on the verge of death, nostalgia big-band and doo-wop tapes made in 1987, and all kinds of other junk. I didn’t even know there was going to be a “Carmen” (not one of my favorites but it would still be interesting to see) from the Met on PBS. I stopped contributing years ago because of this decline in quality. Do these stations even have publicity departments any more? Who is in charge? I guess I’ll have to get back to my extensive collection of DVDs. BTW, don’t miss Simon Boccanegra on June 20, if they allow it to be shown. I’m looking forward to other Sundays, Hamlet on July 18 and Armida (wow!) on August 22. Sundays at the Met

  • farma uzivo

    I know it will be cliche to quote Tina Turner songs… but this is “simply the best”! I swear by this like a religious zealot!

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  • R & P on the left coast

    We saw this magnificent production live at the Met and can’t wait for the broadcast!


    Having never seen the Met live until this show, we’re now completely hooked.

  • Nipun Som

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  • William Ennis

    My uncle was a first violinist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 43 years until his retirement in 1994 and he told me the best way to consider music reviews: don’t read them! LISTEN to the music and if you like the performance, then it’s a good one. Critics, mostly failed musicians, spend so much time picking at the music that they lose the overall beauty of the work. TURANDOT IS my favorite opera, I admit that. The Zefferelli production IS my favorite, I admit that too. Now let me tell you what I think of this performace: anyone who watches this and isn’t moved to tears by the beauty of the singing and staging had better stick to Wagner.

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