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Turandot

PREMIERE | Giacomo Puccini

Performance 10/22/2016  |  Dramma lirico in three acts by, completed by Franco Alfano

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Dramma lirico in three acts, completed by Franco Alfano | Text by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni | In Italian with German supertitles | Playing time ca. 2 1/2 hours | One Intermission

The empire is simultaneously paralyzed and enthralled by Princess Turandot, who has sworn to uphold a solemn vow of her own design: she will give her hand in marriage to the one man who can answer her three mysterious riddles. Should a suitor fail to answer all three correctly, then he is condemned to death. The people are at turns dazzled by Turandot’s mysterious beauty and enchanted by the lurid hangings of the unsuccessful suitors. Suddenly, an unknown prince boldly throws his hat into the ring, ignoring the pleadings of his father Timur, the deposed king of Tartary. Together with Liù, the slave girl, Timur is being held captive by the empire. After the prince has answered the three riddles correctly, he raises the stakes: Turandot must guess his name by the time the sun rises the following morning. All night long, the whole of the city tries to find out his name: “Nessun dorma” (No one sleeps).

Puccini’s works were usually characterized by concrete settings, but this, his final opera, seems to be more of a fairy tale. But a glance behind the fairy-tale veneer reveals an entirely new archetype. In the place of the typical operatic heroine of the 19thcentury, we have the slave girl Liù, who would voluntarily die for the unknown prince. At the deciding moment, she refuses to reveal his name. And once Turandot and Calaf have passed their own tests, we then also experience them as changed individuals. This is movement from dark to light, from night to day. It is imagery that also appears musically: The opera goes from morbid trepidation to orgiastic emphasis, from suppressed longing for love to exuberant radiance. After his wild success with Die Frau ohne Schatten in June 2014, Balázs Kovalik returns to the Oper Leipzig to direct Turandot.

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