program notes by composition > T > Selections fromĀ "Turandot"

Selections from Turandot

Giacomo Puccini/arr. Yo Goto

Selections from Turandot is considered by some to be the greatest Italian opera ever written. It is set in Peking, China in the distant past.

  1. Popolo di Pechino! (introduction) A Mandarin annouces to the people of Peking that any prince seeking to marry Princess Turandot must correctly answer three riddles or die. The latest suitor is to be executed at the moon's rising. In the crowd is Timur, banished King of Tartary and father of Prince Calaf, and Liu, a slave girl. Despite the threat of death, Calaf determines to win the Princess.
  2. Gira al cote! (Spin the Whetstone) Failed suitor number twenty-seven passes on his way to the scaffold. The crowd calls upon Turandot to spare him, but the icy princess permits the execution to proceed. Prince Calaf, transfixed by Turandot's beauty, announces himself as the new suitor. He correctly answers three questions. Having turned against men, the princess is dismayed at the prospect of life with this stranger. He offers to die if she can learn his name by dawn.
  3. Nessun dorma No one is to sleep until the name is discovered. A mob threatens Calaf, Timur and Liu to learn the sercret. Liu endures torture out of love for Calaf. She kills herself.
  4. La mia vittoria (La terza risposta) Victory! Alone with Turandot, Calaf first reproaches her for her coldness and cruelty, then kisses her. Feeling passion for the first time, she weeps.
  5. Diecimila anni nostro Imperatore! May our emperor live ten thousand years.
  6. Padre augusto (Finale) Turandot announces the stranger's name: Love. As Calaf embraces her, the court hails the power of love and life.

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) was a premier composer of operas. He was born in Lucca, Tuscany. He died before completing Turandot and the last two scenes were completed by Franco Alfano based on the composer's sketches.

Last updated on May 4, 2015 by Palatine Concert Band