Photo: Marta Syrko

5 reasons to look forward to... Turandot

29 November 2022

1. Nessun dorma 

One of the greatest opera hits ever comes from Turandot. Even people who have never heard of the opera have no trouble singing along with the tenor aria ‘Nessun dorma’, with its self-assured cry of ‘vincero!’ From football stadiums to TV talent shows, ‘Nessun dorma’ is everywhere.

Read more about 'Nessun Dorma' in popular culture

2. Conductor Lorenzo Viotti

After Tosca, this production is the second in the cycle of Puccini operas that chief conductor Lorenzo Viotti and stage director Barrie Kosky will be presenting over the course of three years. Viotti is a real Puccini aficionado and is pleased to have the opportunity to delve into the rich, challenging score of Turandot with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the impressively large Chorus of Dutch National Opera. Add to that a double cast with expressive, charismatic singers, and a blood-curdling opera experience is guaranteed.

Meet the soprano Tamara Wilson, who plays the role of Turandot

3. Stage director Barrie Kosky

After Tosca, the Australian-German director Barrie Kosky has returned to Amsterdam for a new Puccini. While he used heightened realism in his production of Tosca, he has taken a different approach for Turandot. The opera director says that any realistic interpretation of Turandot is doomed to failure, which is why his Turandot takes place in the delirium of a feverish dream full of lust, desire and obsession.

4. The chorus as the centre of attention

The Chorus of Dutch National Opera gets an opportunity to shine in Turandot. The musical score is exceptionally difficult — one of the chorus singers even says two Lohengrins in a row is easier than one Turandot. In terms of staging too, Barrie Kosky’s direction gives the chorus an important and challenging role to play.

See the preparations of the Chorus

5. The issue of the ending

Turandot is Puccini’s final opera and it has a mature, self-assured style of composition. However the opera was still unfinished when the composer died in 1924, and the ending was no easy matter: the icy-hearted princess Turandot had somehow to ‘thaw’ and suddenly fall in love with Prince Calaf. Puccini’s fellow composer Franco Alfano composed a triumphant finale for the world premiere in 1926, but his ending is rarely felt to be satisfactory. In 2001, the Italian composer Luciano Berio was commissioned by Dutch National Opera to write a new ending, one in which his own style of composition can clearly be heard. How does this new production of Turandot end? We are keeping that a secret for now...

  • Turandot will run from 2 to 30 December 2022 at Dutch National Opera​​​​​​.