Live Cinema Season

Turandot (2013)

Recorded | Opera

Running time: 3 hours 5 minutes (including two intervals)

Turandot (2013)

The Royal Opera's new Season opens in style with Andrei Serban's spectacular production of Puccini's exotic final opera.


The story

Princess Turandot has sworn that no man shall marry her unless he can correctly answer three riddles. Prince Calaf, captivated by Turandot’s beauty, takes up the challenge.

Calaf solves the riddles – but he wants also to win Turandot’s heart. He proposes a new test: if Turandot can discover his name before dawn, he will die; if not, she is his. Just before dawn, Calaf reveals his name to the despairing Turandot, so placing himself in her power. She summons her people and declares she has discovered his name: it is love.


‘I will win’ exclaims Prince Calaf as he boldly sets out to thaw the heart of the ice princess Turandot. In the final months of his life Puccini struggled to depict Calaf’s triumph: he died before finishing the final act. Turandot was completed by Franco Alfano two years later and given its premiere in 1926 at La Scala, Milan. During this initial performance the conductor Arturo Toscanini famously laid down his baton in Act III, declaring ‘at this point, the Maestro died’. Turandot went on to worldwide success.

Puccini creates a rich soundworld for this dark fairytale. The opera contains many memorable arias, from ‘Signore, ascolta’, as Liù appeals to Calaf not to attempt Turandot’s deadly riddles, to Turandot’s defiant ‘In questa reggia’. The opera also contains one of the most famous of all arias – ‘Nessun dorma’, sung as Calaf anticipates winning the Princess’s hand and immortalized in popular culture most of all by Luciano Pavarotti. Andrei Serban’s spectacular staging transports its audience to a beautiful but savage world. Sally Jacobs’s colourful sets and costumes are inspired by ancient Chinese culture, reflecting the traditional Chinese melodies woven into the score.



Giacomo Puccini


Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni


Andrei Serban


Sally Jacobs

Lighting designer

F. Mitchell Dana


Kate Flatt


Tatiana Novaes Coelho

Performed by
The Royal Opera


Henrik Nánási
Princess Turandot
Lise Lindstrom
Emperor Altoum
Alasdair Elliott
Raymond Aceto
Marco Berti
Eri Nakamura
Dionysios Sourbis
David Butt Philip
Doug Jones
Michel de Souza
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

News and features

To find out more visit the Turandot (2013) production page.