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Dramma lirico in three acts (five tableaux)

Composer Giacomo Puccini · Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni after Carlo Gozzi
In Italian with German surtitles

Saturday, 10. December 2016
07:00 pm – 09:50 pm
Nationaltheater

Duration est. 2 hours 50 minutes · Intervals between I. Akt and II. Akt (est. 07:30 pm - 08:00 pm ) between II. Akt and III. Akt (est. 08:45 pm - 09:10 pm )

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Cast

Musikalische Leitung
Dan Ettinger
Inszenierung
Carlus Padrissa - La Fura dels Baus
Bühne
Roland Olbeter
Kostüme
Chu Uroz
Video
Franc Aleu
Licht
Urs Schönebaum
Dramaturgie
Andrea Schönhofer
Dramaturgie
Rainer Karlitschek
Chöre
Sören Eckhoff

La principessa Turandot
Nina Stemme
L'imperatore Altoum
Ulrich Reß
Timur, Re tartaro spodestato
Goran Jurić
Il principe ignoto (Calaf)
Stefano La Colla
Liù
Golda Schultz
Ping
Andrea Borghini
Pang
Kevin Conners
Pong
Matthew Grills
Un mandarino
Anatoli Sivko
Il principe di Persia
Thorsten Scharnke
Kinderchor
Kinderchor der Bayerischen Staatsoper
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Chorus, extra chorus and children's chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper
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The people are thirsty for blood. Another suitor for the hand of the sovereign is about to be publicly beheaded, because Princess Turandot is determined never to belong to any man. That’s why anyone who wants to marry her must first solve three riddles. Anyone who fails has to pay with his life. An unknown prince, revolted by Turandot’s cruelty, yet attracted by her beauty, takes on this potentially lethal risk – and solves the riddles. But has he awakened the ice-cold, man-murdering sovereign to love and put an end to her barbarity?

Turandot is Giacomo Puccini’s final opera. He died at a point in time when he had come upon a thus far unsolved dramaturgical problem with his composition. The princess was to be the counter draft to the anti-feminism at the fin-de-siècle.  But how to depict the transformation of the man-murderer to a loving woman? Puccini left the final love scene between Turandot and Calaf fragmentary.

 

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Turandot, the princess with the heart of ice

In the year 2046 Europe, once so wealthy, is completely under Chinese rule. More than thirty years before, China had saved Europe from financial ruin by buying up all its debts, possessions and natural resources. China is now the new world power. Turandot, the princess with the heart of ice, is very much like Big Brother in her treatment of the citizens of Europe. They are to pay back every last cent and settle the debts of their parents‘ generation.

Act One

In a cold ice stadium the citizens are awaiting the great spectacle of a public execution. Mandarino, Turandot’s representative, announces that Princess Turandot will only marry the prince who solves her three riddles. Since the last candidate – the Prince of Persia no less- was unable to solve the riddles he is to be beheaded. To help increase the sense of anticipation for the execution a game of hockey is played. Timur, a blind old man, falls to the ground in the crowd. His servant, Liù, begs for help. A stranger, Calaf, whom nobody knows, hurries up and recognises his father in the old man, the former King of Tartary who fled into exile and whom his son thought was dead.

The spectacle of the execution continues. After the arrival of the executioner, Pu-Tin-Pao, and his assistant, the Prince of Persian is brought in and arouses sympathy amongst the public. The spectators cover their eyes at the appearance of Turandot, who remains unmoved and gives the sign that the execution should go forward. Calaf is overwhelmed by the beauty of the princess and decides, in spite of the warnings of Timur, Liù and the ministers Ping, Pang and Pong, to announce himself as a new candidate with three beats of the gong.

Act Two

Ping, Pang and Pong bemoan the fate of the victims of Turandot’s capriciousness. Under the influence of alcohol they wax nostalgic about better times and peace in their homeland. Memories of the past and a desirable vision of a life of warmth and sensuousness come before their mind’s eye. The people, in orderly and efficient manner, make preparations for the latest candidate’s courtship challenge. A parade in honour of the Emperor takes place in front of the skyscraper building of the public television authority. Emperor Altoum fails in his attempt to persuade the unknown prince not to take up the challenge. At this point Turandot appears: she recounts how her ancestor, the Princess Lo-u-Ling, was raped by a stranger – like Calaf – and how her suffering has become embedded deeply in her own soul. This is the reason, she adds, why she protects herself with the cruel courtship ritual and presents each candidate for her hand with three riddles. Calaf, however, solves all three riddles one after the other. The princess‘ veneer of ice begins to melt. When the unknown prince has solved the final riddle, he demands his prize. But Turandot flees to her father and begs him to break his promise and not give her to this stranger. Upon this Calaf, in his turn, offers Turandot a riddle: if she can find out his name by the next morning he will accept death as his reward.

Act Three

Nobody sleeps in the city that night. All the citizens want to know the name of the stranger. Ping, Pang and Pong try everything in their power to make Calaf change his mind but he resists all their attempts to bribe him. At this Timur and Liù, who have been seen in the company of the stranger, are dragged in. As they seem to know him, Turandot demands to be told the true identity of the successsful candidate. Liù places herself in front of Timur and claims that only she knows the name. The torturer, Pu-Tin-Pao, is called in to subject her to the bamboo torture, in which a bamboo slowly grows through the body of the victim. But Liù does not yield, she does not give the name and tells Turandot that Love has given her the strength for this sacrifice. She kills herself without having revealed the name. But Liù’s sacrifice transforms society. The old Tao philosophy experiences a revival and Turandot understands the meaning of love.

At this point Puccini’s manuscript ends. Liù is now the stuff of poetry...

Carlus Padrissa

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Biographies

Dan Ettinger, in Israel geboren, begann seine Karriere 1999 an der New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv. Nach zweijähriger Tätigkeit als Gastdirigent des Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra wurde er 2003 Kapellmeister und Assistent von Daniel Barenboim an der Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin sowie 2005 Chefdirigent des Israel Symphony Orchestra. Es folgten Engagements u.a. an der Wiener Staatsoper (Otello, Tosca), am New National Theatre Tokio (Falstaff), der Metropolitan Opera in New York (Le nozze di Figaro, Turandot) sowie am Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London (La bohème, La traviata). Seit 2009 ist er Generalmusikdirektor am Nationaltheater Mannheim und seit 2010 Chefdirigent des New Tokio Philharmonic Orchestra, seit 2015 zudem Generalmusikdirektor der Stuttgarter Philharmoniker. (Stand 2016)

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