Bow Street, London WC2E 9DD

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Closed July 16, 2017

Andrei Serban's production of Puccini's dark oriental fairytale wears its years well for a show that is nearly three decades old

The Guardian, 2013 review

Why See Turandot?

Andrei Serban's celebrated production returns

Returning to the Royal Opera for the first time since 2013, sopranos Christine Goerke and Lise Lindstrom take on the titular role. Princess Turandot has sworn an oath that no man shall claim her for his wife unless he can correctly answer three riddles. As of yet, nobody has succeeded. However, the wily Prince Calaf strikes a bargain with her; if she can guess his name before dawn, he will give up his life. However, if she doesn't, he will claim her for his own. As the clock ticks, Turandot becomes increasingly desperate....

The final opera by Puccini

Puccini's final masterpiece features the iconic tenor aria Nessun Dorma, translated as "None Shall Sleep"; appropriately sung before the rising of the sun in the final act thanks to its soaring finale. However, few know that during Puccini's final month he had struggled to depict Calaf's triumph in song, and thus died before completing the opera. Completed by Franco Alfano two years later, it was given its premiere in 1926 at La Scala, Milan where the unfinished opera was performed. Famously, conductor Arturo Toscanini laid down his baton before the final duet after declaring that "at this point, the Maestro died", referring to Puccini.

Nowadays it is common for both versions to be performed, with critics divided on whether Franco Alfano's completion makes the better performance; it was up until relatively recently that China had banned it due to the unfavourable depictions of Chinese culture. However it was lifted when first performed at the Forbidden City for eight nights in 1998.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 5 July 2017


Suitable for audiences of 10 and above

Run time

Two hours 45 minutes, including two intervals

And before you stop reading

Sung in Italian with English subtitles

Cast and Creative


Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni
Directed by Andrei Serban
Designed by Sally Jacobs
Lighting design by F. Mitchell Dana
Choreographed by Kate Flatt
Choreology by Tatiana Novaes Coelho
Conducted by Dan Ettinger

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