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Puccini, G. (1858-1924)


Composed 1920-1924; completed by Franco Alfano 1925-1926.
First performed April 25, 1926.
Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni (in Itarian),
after Gozzi.

A Summary of gTurandoth

Act 1
In a legendary time, at the square in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, the Princess, Turandot, is a woman of great beauty, but has a cold heart that is as cold as ice. She said, gAny prince seeking to marry me must answer three riddles. But if he fails, he will have to die.h
At the square, a failed princefs fate, who is going to the guillotine, excites a lot of the audiencefs blood. In the crowd, a vanquished king of Tartary, Timur, meets his long-lost son, Prince Calaf, again. Calaf falls in love with Turandot at first sight. He proclaims to try to answer her three riddles. One of Timurfs slave girls, Liu, attempts to stop his reckless resolve, but his determination strengthens.

Act 2
Turandot appears, and begins to ask Calaf her three riddles.
Q1. What thing is reborn every night? ...A. eHopef
Q2. What burns hot, but is not fire? ...A. eBloodf
Q3. What ice can make fire? ...A. eTurandotf
Calaf successfully answers her three riddles. Turandot is upset, and refuses to marry him. Calaf says to her, gIf you can learn my name by dawn, I will forfeit my life.h

Act 3
Turandot gives the crowd in Beijing an order not to sleep until someone learns his name. The people of Beijing frantically find out his name. They catch Liu. Turandot asks Liu why she never says his name. Liu answers that it is because of her love to him, and kills herself.
After the crowd goes home, Turandot remains alone to confront Calaf. Then, Calaf gives away his name to her.
At the break of dawn, Turandot proclaims the victory to learn his name in front of the crowd. She says to the crowd, gHis name is cLoveh, and she then concedes defeat and marries him.

A Comment on gTurandoth

This opera is the last opera by Giacomo Puccini. When Puccini died, he hadnft finished composing this opera. But, Puccini left some rough notes. Using Puccinifs notes Franco Alfano, who is one of Puccinifs private pupils, took over the writing of the opera from the duet of Turandot and Calaf in act 3. In the first performance of gTurandot,h it was conducted by Arturo Toscanini, who is a famous Italian conductor, Toscanini finished conducting this opera before the duet in act 3, and he told the audience that this point was the death of Puccini. On the next day, gTurandoth was completely performed.

gTurandoth is a large scale opera which is set in Beijing. The features of this opera are powerful chorus, having some Chinese melodies, and the solution of three riddles. You will find a lot of highlights in this opera. The most famous aria is especially Calaffs aria, gNessun dorma! (Let No One Sleep)h in act 3. The Tenor who plays Calaf, dramatically sings this aria with his pride of victory and his affection to Turandot. Luciano Pavarotti, one of the three tenors, sang this aria at the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Torino (Turin). Shizuka Arakawa, who won the gold medal in womenfs figure skating in this Olympics, used this aria in her free program. This aria is perfect for a victory!

Of course, Turandot just cannot be ignored. In addition, a slave girl, Liu, is also an important role. Liu is not described in the original of this operafs libretto, but is added by Puccini. Liu sings two arias, gSignore, ascolta! (My lord, listen!)h in act 1 and gTu che di gel sei cinta (You who are begirdled by ice)h in act 3. She kills herself because of her love for Calaf. She leaves us with a strong impression.

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