Resolute Hero Melts A Cold Heart
Giacomo Puccini's magnum opus is a tale set in a fantastical realm of legendary China. The Princess of the title name, Turandot, is played by American Soprano Amber Wagner (star Ryan Opera Center alumni) with Italian tenor, Stefano La Colla debuting as Calaf, a determined suitor. The cast makes the music of Puccini's final opera come alive under the baton of maestro Sir Andrew Davis and director Rob Kearley, who is making his Lyric opera debut in what is their 63rd season.
Although the final scene was unfinished before Puccini's death, Turandot is one of the most admired of his operas. It is an ambitious work with his most successful integration of music and drama. The score was authorized for completion by Franco Alfano, based on Puccini's notes, and this has become accepted as standard. It includes one of the most famous of tenor arias, "Nessun Dorma" (popularized by Luciano Pavarotti) and is rated as one of the ten most challenging soprano roles by Royal Opera House. The work is filled with Asian melodies and touches of percussion but is still an Italian Opera.
What is Turandot about?
With the belief that she is avenging a mistreated ancestor, the cold-hearted Princess Turandot challenges her suitors to answer three riddles - if they succeed in answering each correctly, they win her hand in marriage and if not, they are to be beheaded! Enter Calef, a prince anonymous to everyone in the opera, who falls in love with Turandot at first sight and answers her riddles. The Princess is still reluctant to marry him and confident that his love can overcome her resistance, he sets his own challenge for her - find out his name by morning and he will succumb to her executioners but if she does not, she must marry him.
A love story on the grandest scale, Turandot is an opera that blends epic chorus passages with some brilliantly intimate moments.