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Puccini: Turandot

Here’s a hint: “head’s up! Here comes the princess…”

To audiences today, it must remain a riddle how Puccini would have completed his final, unfinished opera. But this is perhaps appropriate, as Turandot itself is full of riddles. After falling hard for the princess Turandot, the deposed Prince Calaf volunteers to answer three riddles as a contest for her hand, for which the cost of failure is decapitation! Playing the game all the way to the end, Calaf answers the riddles and gives the shocked princess until sunrise to guess his name. Puccini’s librettists worked from an adaptation by Romantic poet Friedrich Schiller. Although Schiller’s play and Puccini’s opera were deadly serious, the play had originally been a satirical farce by late 18th-century Venetian playwright Carlo Gozzi, author of a play which Prokofiev would later set, A Love for Three Oranges.

Music Heard On This Episode

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924): Turandto: Nessun Dorma
José Cura, tenor; Placido Domingo/Philharmonia Orchestra — Jose Cura - Puccini Arias (Erato, 1997)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924): Turandto: Nessun Dorma
José Cura, tenor; Placido Domingo/Philharmonia Orchestra — Jose Cura - Puccini Arias (Erato, 1997)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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