Now Playing

A Dazzling Opera’s Last Stand?

The Friday after Thanksgiving is your last chance this season—and perhaps for years to come—to see San Francisco Opera’s arresting production of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, the high-pitched tale of a sadistic princess who puts all her suitors through a life-or-death game of riddles (hint: many beheadings ensue).

Some unfortunate plot twists are tough to take, including the devoted slave girl who happily sacrifices herself so the hero can find love, but the opera is musically enthralling—I felt like I was holding my breath in nervous excitement throughout the entire first act—and the star of this particular production may well be the David Hockney sets. They’re made of huge, boldly-colored swooping shapes—reds, blacks, and greens, mainly—and look like they could be from a Dr. Seuss book about China, where the opera is set. The costumes are equally gorgeous; but the production is a bit worse for wear since its 2002 debut, and it seems likely that it may go into semi-retirement for awhile. Get there, if you can: It’s a post-Thanksgiving feast, for the eyes and mind.

Nov. 25, SF Opera, 301 Van Ness Ave., 415-861-4008