HISTORY OF THE WORK
Giacomo Puccini died before Turandot was completed - yet it is
undoubtedly one of the most popular and most performed of his works.
Turandot is performed regularly all over the world and is particularly
suited to large-scale venues such as arenas and open-air stages which
accommodate its grandeur and use of vast numbers of performers.
Puccini (1858-1924), the last great genius of Italian opera left a legacy
which extends from early works like Le Villi and Edgar through the backbone
of the verismo repertoire - Manon Lescaut, La Bohème, Tosca,
Madame Butterfly, La Fanciulla del West, Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and
represents not only his final opera, but can be classified as a work
that closes the chapter on a glorious period of melodrama which blossomed
in the late 19th century and is now doomed to disappear with the current
trend in composition at the end of our own century.
assimilated the influences of two centuries of European music (in encompassing
aspects of Gounod, Massenet, the impressionism of Debussy, the elegant
style of Ravel, the visionary tonal colors of Richard Strauss and the
expressionism of Schoenberg) and extended the great stage tradition
of Verdi which had culminated in Aida, Otello and Falstaff to a new
level of dramatic expression.
through his choice of thematic material, and the variety, vitality,
and succinctness of his treatment, he brought melodrama to the people.
Tragic comedy (La Bohème) realistic drama (Manon Lescaut, Tosca,
Il Tabarro), exotic settings (Madama Butterfly, La Fanciulla del West)
psychological drama (again Madama Butterfly, Suor Angelica) through
light comedy (Gianni Schicci) - all stem from the pen of the musician
born in Lucca, Italy, who, with the greatest economy, blended his music
with the story to be told. Indeed his intentions can be compared to
those of film-making.
Simoni, the librettist, director and theater critic, suggested the fairytale
Turandotte (written by the Venetian author Carlo Gozzi in 1762) to Puccini
as suitable material for a lyric opera.
composer agreed enthusiastically, having rejected numerous previous
suggestions and in November 1919 Simoni joined forces with Guiseppe
Adami (who had already written libretti for two previous Puccini operas)
to prepare the new text.