Puccini’s last and perhaps most astonishing work is his first opera based on a fairy tale, but with burning, repressed romantic desire at its core.

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The premiere of this frenetic and epic musical piece features star soloists such as the excellent young Romanian soprano Cristina Pasaroiu and Argentine opera legend José Cura in both the lead and title roles. The story of the Chinese princess actually comes from a Persian tale. Besides Gozzi, Schiller also adapted it. Puccini was very fond of the story and took an active part in the work of his librettists, G. Adami and R. Simoni. “Of all Gozzi’s stage works, I consider Turandot the most natural and human of Gozzi’s plays,” the conductor wrote to Adami in 1920. The work features an ambitious construction and a distinct, exotic sound, but all this is overshadowed by the final duet and grandiose lyricism of the tale, which was left without a finale. The opera was finally finished by Puccini’s pupil and friend, Franco Alcano, on the basis of Puccini’s precise notes. Its world premiere was in Milan’s La Scala in 1926.

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