Chorus Stage Time: Turandot vs. Der Freischütz

Opening night of Turandot went great! The sold-out house enjoyed it a lot. Our General Director received emails this morning from people who admitted they thought he “lost his mind” when he put Turandot on the West Bay Opera schedule, but were blown away by the performance.

In my previous post I mentioned that I hadn’t done the numbers about chorus stage time for Turandot vs. other operas. Since we’re dark tonight, I had some time today to quantify this. I compared Turandot to my previous onstage opera performance, Der Freischütz. You can see reviews of our production in the 2010 issue no. 20 of Weberiana, the journal of the Internationale Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Gesellschaft e. V.

The chorus part for Der Freischütz is typical of many operas – a couple of big scenes, often at the beginning and the end, with most of the time focused on scenes involving only the principals. I compared the chorus time on stage based on the staging in our West Bay Opera productions. For timings I used the recordings of the operas that I have: Zubin Mehta conducting Turandot with Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti; and Carlos Kleiber conducting Der Freischütz with Peter Schreier and Gundula Janowitz. Both operas have significant off-stage chorus parts that aren’t included here.

The numbers are indeed close to what I had guessed. In Der Freischütz the chorus was on stage for 38 minutes out of a 2 hour, 6 minute performance, or 30% of the opera. In Turnadot the chorus is on stage for 1 hour, 15 minutes of of a 1 hour, 58 minute performance, or 64% of the opera.

So Turnadot is indeed twice as big as a standard chorus opera part. No wonder we’re so tired but happy afterwards: “Nessun dorma” indeed!

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One Response to Chorus Stage Time: Turandot vs. Der Freischütz

  1. Jennisara Sumiri says:

    Thanks for doing the numbers on that! I knew we were on stage an unusual percentage of this opera just because I no longer have time to read a chapter in my book back in the Green Room 🙂 but it’s nice to know the actual comparison with our more “usual” operas. I guess I don’t have to wonder anymore why I have very little energy for anything else! And it’s worth it, we created magic on that stage and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. My co-worker came to see it today and she was blown away. I can’t wait for the reviews.

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