Opera in 3 acts
Original version in Italian with Spanish subtitles
Libreto by: Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoi, based on the homonymous play by Carlo Gozzi
Set & Custom Designer: Alfredo Troisi
Set: Laboratorio Tecnoscena (Italy)
Customes: Arrigo (Milano - Italia)
Shoes : Calzature di Epoca (Milán – Italia)
Wigs: Artimmagine de Emanuela Passaro (Napoles)
Soloists, choir and orchestra from OPERA 2001
CAST (*In selection process)
Princess Turandot - Soprano
Emperor Altoum – Tenor
Timur, deposed King of Tartary - Bass
Calaf, his son - Tenor
Liù, a slave girl - Soprano
Ping, Lord Chancellor – Baritone
Pang, Majordomo – Tenor
Pong, Head chef of the Imperial Kitchen – Tenor
A Mandarin - Baritone
* This cast can be changed.
Located in Beijing, in legendary times. In a room full of people near the Forbidden City, a Mandarin reads a decree: any prince who wants to marry Princess Turandot must solve three riddles, if he fails, he will die. His last suitor, the Prince of Persia, will be executed when the moon rises. The bloodthirsty citizens ask the executioner to proceed with the act, and among the tumult a young slave girl, Liù, asks for help when her old master is thrown to the ground. A handsome young man recognizes him as his old and lost father, Timur, the defeated king of Tartaria. When the man tells his son, Prince Calàf, that only Liù has remained faithful to him, the young man asks her why this attitude. She replies that it is because once, a long time ago, Calàf smiled at her. The crowd cries again for blood, but the moon emerges, and everyone falls into a sudden and fearful silence. The damned suitor walks towards his execution, touching the spectators who beg Turandot to forgive his life. Turandot appears and with a derogatory gesture, begins the process of execution. The crowd hears a cry of death from a distance. Calàf, delighted with the beauty of the princess, determines to win her as a wife and moves towards the gong that proclaims the arrival of a new suitor. The ministers of the princess, Ping, Pang and Pong with Timur and Liù try to discourage the young man. But despite his pleas, Calàf hits the fatal gong and calls Turandot.
In their rooms, Ping, Pang and Pong lament over the bloody reign of the ice princess and pray that love conquers her icy heart so that peace can return to the empire. The ministers are called to reality by the cries of the assembled crowd to listen to the new candidate's questions. The old Emperor Altoum, sitting on a high throne of the Imperial Palace, asks Calàf if he wants to renounce his intention, but it is in vain. Turandot enters and tells him the story of his ancestor, Princess Lou-Ling, brutally murdered by a triumphant prince; in revenge Turandot has turned against all men, determining that none will ever possess her. She presents her first question: What is born every night and dies every dawn? "Hope," Calàf responds correctly. Bewildered, she continues: What flickers red and warm like a flame, but is not fire?, "Blood", Calàf responds after a momentary pause. Shocked, Turandot pronounces her third riddle: What is ice which gives you fire and which your fire freezes still more? A tense silence prevailed until Calàf triumphantly shouted "Turandot!" While the crowd thanked, the princess roars her father not to abandon her to a stranger, but it is in vain. Calàf generously offers Turandot his own riddle: If she can discover his name before dawn, he will renounce his life.
In the palace garden, Calàf hears a proclamation: under penalty of death, no one in Beijing will sleep (the famous "Nessun sleeps") until Turandot knows the name of the stranger. The prince reflects on his imminent joy; but Ping, Pang and Pong try unsuccessfully to bribe him to retire. As the fearful crowd threatens Calàf to take out the daggers to discover his name, the soldiers talk about Liù and Timur. Horrified, Calàf tries to convince the crowd that nobody knows his secret. When Turandot appears ordering the stunned Timur to speak, Liù cries and tells the princess that she is the only one who knows the identity of the stranger. Although, she remains silent. Impressed by such resistance, Turandot asks Liù to reveal the secret; "Love" replies the girl. At the signal of the princess, so that the soldiers intensify the torture, Liù snatches a dagger from one of them and stabs herself. The aching Timur and the crowd follow her body until she is taken outside. Turandot is alone to face Calàf, who finally takes her in his arms, forcing her to kiss him. Knowing physical passion for the first time, Turandot cries. The prince, sure with his victory, tells her his name. Due to the call of the crowd, Turandot approaches the emperor's throne announcing that the name of the stranger is Love.