Puccini: Turandot - Synek, King, Lo. Rysanek, Franc, Zednik, Kerns; Klobucar. Wien, 1973
Listen to a Sample:
This performance of Turandot wins the prize for most unexpected gem of the year. Liane Synek (whose name I always took as a misspelling of Leonie Rysanek) sings the title role with astonishing power and vocal purity. Her "In questa reggia" is both thrilling and chilling. We all know that James King was a great singer. What was surprising to me was how easily he could shift gears into Puccini mode and sing with the kind of Italianate musicality that one would expect from a specialist. And you will not believe the interpolated high C he unleashes in Act II (See clip below). The standout for me was the Liù of Lotte Rysanek. You read right! Lotte is Leonie's little sister and her career mostly centered around Vienna. She shows that beauty of tone and ability to spin sublime pianissimi must be genetic. This is most in evidence in her act III aria "Tanto amor segreto." If you love this opera these performers may actually change your view of Puccini's final work. The sound is fair to good.