The plot of Puccini's opera is a classic anti-feminist anecdote: an uppity bitch just needs the right man to set her straight. In this sense it is comparable to _The Taming of the Shrew_, but whereas Petruchio gives Katherina a firm hand, Calaf acquiesces to Turandot at every turn. When, in the final moments, Turandot claims to have been frightened by Calaf from the get go, we have to wonder: why? That plus a general lack of chemistry between the two principle characters renders the whole thing absurd. While admitting that there would be very few operas left if we eliminated all the absurd ones, I have to wonder if in this particular case the absurdity couldn't have been mitigated to a degree by having Calaf perform with a bit more swagger. Bang a gong, get it on.

Performances of Turandot can be seen at the Royal Opera House until the 14th of March, 2014

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