Puccini: Turandot

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Puccini: Turandot

by: Alexander Campbell

In Peking, Calaf finds his father Timur, a blind exiled king, escorted by the slave-girl Liù. Calaf glimpses the imperious princess Turandot and is immediately smitten. Ignoring protestations from his companions and ministers Ping, Pang and Pong he attempts to win her by answering three riddles. Failure means execution; vengeance for the murderous rape of her ancestor Lou-Ling. Encouraged by crowds he succeeds, answering “Hope”, “Blood” and “Turandot”. He offers his life if Turandot can determine his name before dawn. Liù, after torture, commits suicide keeping Calaf’s secret. Turandot discovers his identity, but reveals it to the populace as “Love”.

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