In 1997, orchestra leader Zubin Mehta, long noted for his fondness for unusual and challenging projects, had an idea to stage a new version of Puccini's opera Turandot. While the opera is set in China during the Ming Dynasty, Mehta's desire was to stage a version that relied less on outmoded stereotypes and more on the realities of life in China during that period. Working with Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, Mehta staged an acclaimed new production of Turandot in Italy. A year later, Mehta and Yimou began an even more ambitious plan -- to bring their Turandot to China, where it would be performed with a massive cast of Italian and Chinese performers on an outdoor stage at the fabled Forbidden City. In The Turandot Project, documentary filmmaker Allan Miller captures the long and often difficult process by which Puccini's opera was brought back to the land that inspired it -- and the considerable culture shock both the Italian and Chinese artists suffered along the way. The Turandot Project was shown at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival.
by Mark Deming synopsis