In your own words – ‘Turandot’ applauded |

In your own words – ‘Turandot’ applauded

One of the reasons I selected Nevada County as home is its prolific and talented artistic community, from Alasdair Fraser to Foothill Theatre Company, from Cooper’s to Music in the Mountains. While I enjoy most of my evenings’ entertainment, some are more rewarding than others, and I am often chastised for being overly critical. However, the most recent was one of the most entertaining evenings I have spent in some time.

Friday night at the Nevada Theatre, I had the pleasurable surprise of seeing an Arabian Nights tale come to life … the Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra’s presentation of “Tur-andot.” Oh, I know, “Turandot” is an Italian opera by Puccini, but originally it was an Arabian tale. It doesn’t matter ” this theatrical presentation is pure enjoyment. From the set design, the costumes, the comic actors, the jesters, the Chinese court, to the actors themselves … it is magic.

The story is ostensibly about a Chinese princess who is down on men, committed to destroying every last one that falls un-der the spell of her beauty … and her father’s power and money ” he is, after all, the emperor of China! In order to win her hand, a suitor must correctly answer three riddles that are asked by three sages.

Of course, anyone foolish enough to accept the challenge and fail has his head removed and displayed at the city gates. While this situation may at first seem a bit grotesque ” the several heads (apparently still alive) are on display as the play opens and the most recent challenger has his removed in the midst of the audience ” believe me, this is a Disneyesque version.

Yukiko Ohse, in the title role, is thrillingly beautiful, especially as she sings the one aria in the play. The entire cast and production crew deserve rave re-views for this memorable experience, especially co-directors Amber Jo Manuel and John Deaderick. Thank you, CATS, I can only imagine the immense effort required to stage “Turandot.”

” David Morris,

Rough and Ready

“Turandot” will be at Nevada Theatre through Feb. 7. Call 273-6362 for more information.

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