Thursday, April 20, 2006

Turandot: Go See It

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2006 at 2:32 PM

The Nashville Opera, a rising company on the national scene, will stage Puccini's Turandot tonight (4/20) and Saturday night (4/22). If you're missing out on opera, you're really missing out.

Turandot is set in Mandarin China and involves a ploy by the princess Turandot to kill her suitors. She says that she will marry any man who can answer three riddles, but that whoever tries and fails will be executed. Prince Calaf, a refugee from Timur, accepts the challenge and therein the opera is launched. The production is filled with color and movement-- with a very large cast-- and it contains the famed tenor aria "Nessun Dorma" which Pavarotti has made into a popular favorite as his signature piece.

Puccini was the most lyrical of opera composers, but he died before Turandot could be completed (it was finished by a journeyman composer named Franco Calfano). As such, it is the last of the great man's operas and the summit of his achievements. At one of the debut performances, in 1926, Puccini's friend and famous conductor Arturo Toscanini stopped the production at the point where Puccini's work left off, laid down his baton, and said, "And here the master laid down his pen." And everyone went home.

Ticketmaster has tickets, and you really should go see it.

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