Puccini's Turandot Tickets

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Turandot is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, to an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, based on the play by Carlo Gozzi. It was left unfinished by Puccini at his death, and completed by Franco Alfano. The first performance, at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on 25 April 1926, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, included only Puccini's music and not Alfano's additions. Later performances were of the completed score.

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Puccini's Turandot Tickets

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Puccini first began working on Turandot in March 1920 after meeting with librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. He began composition in January of 1921. By March of 1924, he had completed the opera up to the final duet. However, he was unsatisfied with the text of the final duet, and did not continue until October 8, when he chose Adami's fourth version of the duet text. On October 10 he was diagnosed with throat cancer, and he died a few weeks later on November 29. He left behind thirty-six pages of sketches on twenty-three sheets for the end of Turandot, together with instructions that Riccardo Zandonai should finish the opera. Puccini's son Tonio objected, and eventually Franco Alfano was chosen to flesh out the sketches. Alfano provided a first version of the ending with a few passages of his own, and even a few sentences added to the libretto which was not considered complete even by Puccini himself. After the severe criticisms by editor Ricordi and the conductor Arturo Toscanini, he was forced to write a second, severly censored version that followed Puccini's sketches more closely, to the point where he did not set some of Adami's text to music because Puccini had not indicated how he wanted it to sound. Ricordi's real concern was not the quality of Alfano's work, but that he wanted the end of Turandot to sound as if it had been written by Puccini, and Alfano's editing had to be seamless. The debate over which version of the ending is better is still open, but the consensus generally tends towards Alfano's first score. This is the main reason for Ricordi commissioning Luciano Berio to write a new ending in 2002. Unfortunately, even this last one has received a mixed reception.

The first performance of Turandot was at La Scala, Milan, on April 25, 1926. It was conducted by Arturo Toscanini, and the cast was:

Turandot - Rosa Raisa
The Prince - Miguel Fleta
Liù - Maria Zamboni
Timur - Carlo Walter
Ping - Giacomo Rimini