Puccini's opera Turandot, known as ‘Nessun Dorma’ is a world-famous opera. Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), who composed Turandot, succeeded Verdi as the heir to the throne of opera. However, unlike Verdi, who tends to be masculine and heroic, Puccini's tendency to work was evaluated as feminine and sentimental. ‘Turandot,’ which premiered in 1926 at the Las Cala Theater in Milan, Italy, is a three-act opera set in ancient China. Turandot turned stories from ancient Persia into operas by Puccini. When Puccini died of laryngeal cancer in 1924, the work was left incomplete, so the part after Act 3's ‘Death of Liu’ was completed by Franco Alpano, an alumnus of Puccini's Milan Conservatory. Puccini failed to progress his work after composing Ryu's death scene in the second half of Act 3. It may have been due to poor health, but some say that it was difficult to convincingly unravel the scene in which Turandot felt love for Khalaf after Ryu's death.
The story of Turandot begins in ancient China, which is said to be a legend a long time ago. The princess named Turandot had a very beautiful beauty. When it was time for her to get married, princes from many countries began to propose to her. However Turandot made one bet: to marry her, prince had to guess the princess's three riddles. The princes had to die if they got any of the riddles wrong. So the princes of many countries lost their lives, and the princess did not stop her bet. One day, the prince of the fallen kingdom, ‘Kalaf,’ lost his homeland and wandered around, arriving in the country where Turandot was located. In the country, ‘Kalaf’ meets his father, who he thought was lost, and his maid, ‘Ryo,’ who serves him. Calaf's father, who met him, attributed it to his maid, ‘Ryo,’ that he was able to come this far. Calaf asked Ryo how she could serve her father to the fullest, and Ryo replied that it was thanks to one smile that Calaf showed in the past. Meanwhile, when Turandot came out to the square to execute the prince who lost the bet, Calaf fell in love with her. As he tried to ask her for a bet, Khalaf's father and Ryo opposed it, but Khalaf knocked on the drum to announce that he was applying for a bet. Then the servants ‘Ping,’ ‘Pang,’ and ‘Pong’ come out and let Khalaf into the imperial kingdom. Thus, he meets the Chinese emperor ‘Altom’. ‘Ping,’ ‘Pang,’ ‘Pong,’ and ‘Altom’ stop him from making a bet, but he eventually asks the princess to make a bet. Then Turandot comes out, and the princess tells why she made this bet. After seeing her grandmother, Princess Loring, being killed by a prince from another country, she became disbelieving in the men and said she started this bet to avoid marriage. After that, he begins to give the first riddle.
"On a dark night it flies up, spreading its rainbow-colored wings. Everyone wishes for it, disappears at dawn, and comes to life in their hearts. What is born every night and dies every day in the daytime?" At the end of Turandot's words, Calaf replied, "Hope." That was the answer and Turandot begins to give a second riddle. "What is this thing that burns red but not fire, sometimes excited and impulsively, that burns with death, and burns with dreams of victory?" replied Calaf. "Blood." That was the answer, and Turandot panicked and began to give the final question. "Something as cold as ice and as hot as fire, if it abandons you, you will become a slave and if it serves you as a slave it will make you king." Calaf was embarrassed for a moment, but soon after, he answered, "It's Turandot you." Calaf solved all three riddles, but the princess had no intention of marrying him. Then Khalaf makes a suggestion to the princess. The princess did not know Calaf's name yet, so he offered to die himself if she found out his name by the time the next morning came. After that, Calaf stands in the garden, convinced of his victory, and begins to sing ‘None shall sleep’, an aria known as ‘Nessun Dorma’. The princess kidnapped Calaf's father and his maid, Ryo, and tries to torture him. At that moment, Ryo steps out to torture herself instead of Khalaf's father. Ryo, who did not open his mouth despite the hard torture, commits suicide, saying that the power she was able to hold out was love. Seeing this, Khalaf angrily tells Turandot to take off his hypocrisy and kisses her. He says that His name is Calaf. Then Turandot goes to the emperor and says she finds out his name. She said that his name is 'love'. Then Turandot and Calaf kiss each other and the opera ends.
The famous aria from the Turandot
In Act 3 Scene 1, the aria that Calaf sings with a hunch of victory in the garden, betting on the princess to match his name, is ‘Nessun Dorma’ in Italian and means ‘None shall sleep’. ‘None shall sleep’ aria is commonly known as ‘Princess Can't Sleep’ in Korea.
It is an aria in the part where Ryu tells him not to challenge Turandot when Calaf, who is in love with him, says he will challenge Turandot's riddle.
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