In Beijing, nobody sleeps. The crowds have gathered to watch the beheading of the Prince of Persia. Like many foreigners who came before him, the prince failed to answer the three riddles that would have earned him the hand of the much-coveted Princess Turandot, daughter of the Emperor of China. But she who is “white as jade, cold as blade” has sworn to never wed in vengeance for the death of her ancestress who was murdered by the Prince of Tartary after an invasion. As heads continue to roll, the arrival of an exiled foreign prince might melt Turandot’s ice-cold blood and restore hope in her people who yearn for the good old days.
In 1926, composer Franco Alfano was given the immense responsibility of completing the two final scenes of Turandot, which Puccini had left as a collection of sketches upon his death. These apocryphal pages were arbitrarily trimmed by the conductor Arturo Toscanini in the first performances, stripping the work of its sublime final soaring passage, against Puccini’s wishes, with the triumphant development of the theme of “Nessun Dorma”, which went on to become one of the best-known arias in the opera repertoire. Presented here in its complete version, this original finale is a chance to (re)discover Turandot in a fresh light. In the hands of director Emmanuelle Bastet and conductor Domingo Hindoyan, this is a rare and magnificent production.
Overtitled in French, German