Opera by Giacomo Puccini
Turandot, the daughter of the Chinese emperor, hates men and vows never to have to devote herself to any one of them, to avenge a wrong done to her ancestress Lo-u-Ling. She therefore confronts all the princes who ask for her hand in marriage with three difficult puzzles. Since none of the applicants know the answers, they are given over to the hangman without exception. Against the better judgment and the warnings of his father (Timur) and the slave Liù, the young prince Calàf dares to present himself as a suitor for the bride. When, as if by a miracle, he names the correct answers, Turandot is beside herself. However, Calàf is prepared to release her from her oath if she, for her part, can guess his name before dawn.
From 1920 until his death, Giacomo Puccini worked more than four years on his last work for the stage. Turandot develops an exotic colorfulness unknown to orchestras before then – even when making use of original Chinese melodies – which equally captures the splendor of the ancient Chinese empire, as well as the cold cruelty of the protagonist. The “prominent, beautiful, unusual melody” (Puccini) planned for the final duet between Turandot and Calàf, was never found, however, because Puccini died while working on November 29, 1924. Turandot remained unfinished, achieving posthumous fame for its composer following its triumphant premiere at the Scala in Milan in April 1926.
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