Poster of Turandot

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Author: Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni
Première: 25th April 1926, Milan (Teatro alla Scala)

Turandot, Opera in 3 acts

The setting of this famous opera is Peking in its legendary past. Turandot, daughter of the Altoum emperor of China announces her decree: any man who asks her hand in marriage must answer three riddles. If he fails to do so he will be executed. An ancestress of Turandot was once raped and murdered by a foreigner, and she has set out to avenge this dreadful deed.
Calaf is the son of Timur the dethroned king of Tartary who is now hiding in Peking with the slave Liù. The woman has followed the king out of love for Calaf. Calaf is fascinated by Turandot's beauty and decide to become a new suitor for the hand of Turandot. 13 suitors have already been executed.
In spite of everybody warning him not to persist Calaf three times repeats his wish to submit to the ritual. He successfully answers the three riddles, but Turandot begs her father not to give her to the stranger. The emperor says that he will keep his promise.
Calaf, wishing to win Turandot's love, sets her a riddle of his own: if she can guess his name before sunrise he will be defeated and be prepared to die. On Turandot's order, Peking citizens must spend the night trying to discover the foreing prince's name. Timur and Liù are captured and questioned by Turandot herself. To save the old king, Liù claims that she alone knows the prince's name. She is then threatened with torture and eventually stabs herself to dead.
Turandot and Calaf are left alone together, and Calaf kisses her who admits that from the first moment she both loved and hated him. Turandot announces the stranger's name to the people. To her, she says, he is known as Love.

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