Turandot

The Persian fairy-tale Turandot from the dervish Mokles’s 17th-century collection The One Thousand and One Nights has inspired numerous poets and composers. Giacomo Puccini worked on Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni’s libretto, based on Carlo Gozzi’s play, in the final years of his life, when he was fighting cancer of the larynx. Just as in the case of Madama Butterfly, he diligently strove to gain thorough knowledge of the culture and songs of an exotic, faraway land (in this case China). Puccini died before he managed to complete the opera: the task was undertaken by his friend and pupil Franco Alfano, who drew upon the 36 pages of sketches left by the composer. 



The opera was premiered on 25 April 1926 at Milan’s La Scala, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, who paid tribute to the late Puccini when in Act 3, after the words “Liu, poesia!”, he laid down his baton, turned to the audience and announced: “Here the opera ends, because at this point the maestro died”. Alfano’s finale was only included in the next performance. The cruel and beautiful Princess Turandot tests her wooers with riddles and when they fail they are duly executed. Only Prince Calaf succeeds, and his love ultimately overwhelms Turandot’s coldness.



The opera is staged in Italian original version and Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.



Photo: Dan Jäger



Duration of the performance: 2 hours and 45 minutes, 2 intermissions

Program and cast

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February 2019 Next

Prague State Opera

The State Opera today

 

The State Opera (formerly the State Opera Prague, between 1948 and 1992 the Smetana Theatre, and originally the New German Theatre) has been a part of the National Theatre since 2012. The Opera and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the State Opera.

 

History

 

The Prague State Opera resides in the building which on January 5, 1888 was opened as a Prague German stage with the performance of Wagner’s opera, The Mastersingers of Nürnberg. In the 19th century, Prague Germans performed in the Estate’s Theater in alternation with a Czech company. Desire for their own theater led to negotiations in 1883 for the construction of a new theater building for the German Theater Association. Over the next three years, a blueprint was drawn up and handed over to the Vienna atelier of Fellner and Hellmer. Also sharing in the design was the architect of the Vienna Municipal Theater, Karl Hasenauer, while Prague architect Alfons Wertmüller took part in the construction. Financing came from private collections. With its spacious auditorium and neo-Rococo decoration, this theater building is among the most beautiful in Europe.

 

Access:

 

By car

On Wilsonova street, from the left lane close to the State Opera building take the slip road to the Slovan above-ground garage. The parking fee is 40 CZK/h.

 

By tram

 

By daytime tram No. 11 to the stop “Muzeum”, through the underpass beneath Legerova street in the direction of the NationalMuseum, at the crossroads turn right along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

 

By daytime trams Nos. 3, 9, 14 and 24 or night trams Nos. 51, 52, 54, 55, 56 and 58 to the stop “Václavské náměstí”, then by foot uphill on the left side of the Wenceslas Square to the traffic lights across Wilsonova and Vinohradská streets. Then turn left along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

 

By metro

To the “Muzeum” station, lines A and C (green and red), and then by foot along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

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