Turandot

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Puccini's Turandot

April 25 & 30, May 3, 2020
Long Center for the Performing Arts

Photo Credit:
Cory Weaver Photography

Turandot

Austin Opera concludes its 2019- 2020 Season with Puccini’s final opera, Turandot, April 25 – May 3, 2020, at the Long Center.

Turandot, a beautiful princess with a heart of ice, meets her match when the prince Calaf dares to answer her deadly riddles with the promise of love. A selfless sacrifice by Calaf’s faithful servant ultimately awakens true emotion in Turandot, proving that in the game of love, you can’t win the top prize without giving away your heart. Puccini’s final masterwork features one of the most iconic and powerful arias in all of opera, “Nessun dorma,” transporting audiences to another time and place, a world of heightened spectacle where myth comes to life through music.

Starring in the title role is Alexandra Loutsion, making her Austin Opera debut, but no stranger to this demanding role – garnering praise for her portrayal of the ice princess nationally. Her doomed prince is performed by returning tenor Jonathan Burton, who was last seen in Ariadne auf Naxos. Conducting this final production of the season is Artistic Advisor, Timothy Myers, returning after last season’s triumphant production of Silent Night. Directing this production is Garnett Bruce, an Austin Opera favorite, returning to Austin after last directing Madama Butterfly in 2017.

With exquisite, classic sets and costumes from Lyric Opera of Kansas City, this epic opera is a feast for the senses.

Total Time: approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes in length with one 25- minute intermission

*Patrons must be 8 years of age or older to attend.

2019 headshot website edit

Evan K. Brown
Emperor

Brendan Boyle
Prince of Persia

Production

Music: Giacomo Puccini
Libretto: Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni
Conductor: Timothy Myers
Stage Director: Garnett Bruce
Scenic Design: R. Keith Brumley
Costume Design:  Mary Traylor
Lighting Design: James Sale

Text after Gozzi’s fable
Sung in Italian, with English supertitles
An opera in 3 acts

*Austin Opera debut

ACT I

Peking, in the mythic past. Outside the Imperial Palace, a mandarin reads an edict to the crowd: Any prince seeking to marry Princess Turandot must answer three riddles. If he fails, he will die. The most recent suitor, the Prince of Persia, is to be executed at the moon’s rising. Among the onlookers are the slave girl Liù, her aged master, and the young Calàf, who recognizes the old man as his long-lost father, Timur, vanquished King of Tartary. Only Liù has remained faithful to him, and when Calàf asks her why, she replies that once, long ago, Calàf smiled at her. The mob cries for blood but greets the rising moon with a sudden fearful silence. As the Prince of Persia goes to his death, the crowd calls upon the princess to spare him. Turandot appears in her palace and wordlessly orders the execution to proceed. Transfixed by the beauty of the unattainable princess, Calàf decides to win her, to the horror of Liù and Timur. The three ministers of state, Ping, Pang, and Pong, appear and also try to discourage him, but Calàf is unmoved. He reassures Liù, then strikes the gong that announces a new suitor. 

ACT II

Within their private apartments, Ping, Pang, and Pong lament Turandot’s bloody reign, hoping that love will conquer her and restore peace. Their thoughts wander to their peaceful country homes, but the noise of the crowd gathering to witness the riddle challenge calls them back to reality.

In the royal throne room, the old emperor asks Calàf to reconsider, but the young man will not be dissuaded. Turandot arrives. She recounts the story of her beautiful ancestor, Princess Lou-Ling, who was abducted and killed by a conquering prince. In revenge, Turandot has turned against men and determined that none shall ever possess her. Trumpets then herald the beginning of the riddles. Turandot poses her first question to Calàf: What is born each night and dies each dawn? “Hope,” Calàf answers correctly. Turandot continues: What flickers red and warm like a flame, yet is not a flame? “Blood,” Calàf replies after a moment’s thought. Shaken, Turandot delivers the third riddle: What is like ice but burns, and if it accepts you as a slave, makes you a king? Tense silence prevails until Calàf triumphantly cries “Turandot!” The crowd erupts in joy, and the princess vainly begs her father not to give her to the stranger. Hoping to win her love, Calàf offers Turandot a challenge of his own: If she can learn his name by dawn, he will forfeit his life.

ACT III

At night in the Imperial Gardens, Calàf hears a proclamation: On pain of death, no one in Peking shall sleep until Turandot learns the stranger’s name. Calàf is certain of his victory, but Ping, Pang, and Pong try to bribe him to leave the city. As the fearful mob threatens him to learn his name, soldiers drag in Liù and Timur. Calàf tries to convince the crowd that neither of them knows his secret. When Turandot appears, commanding Timur to speak, Liù replies that she alone knows the stranger’s identity and will never reveal it. Soldiers torture her, but she remains silent. Impressed by her fortitude, Turandot asks what gives Liù the strength to resist. It is love, she replies. When the torture intensifies, Liù tells Turandot that she, too, will know the joys of love. Then she snatches a dagger and kills herself. The crowd forms a funeral procession, and Timur follows as they take away her body. Turandot remains alone to confront Calàf, who impetuously kisses her. Knowing emotion for the first time, Turandot weeps. Calàf, now sure of winning her, reveals his identity.

Once again before the emperor’s throne, Turandot declares she knows the stranger’s name: It is Love.

Overview

Turandot

Austin Opera concludes its 2019- 2020 Season with Puccini’s final opera, Turandot, April 25 – May 3, 2020, at the Long Center.

Turandot, a beautiful princess with a heart of ice, meets her match when the prince Calaf dares to answer her deadly riddles with the promise of love. A selfless sacrifice by Calaf’s faithful servant ultimately awakens true emotion in Turandot, proving that in the game of love, you can’t win the top prize without giving away your heart. Puccini’s final masterwork features one of the most iconic and powerful arias in all of opera, “Nessun dorma,” transporting audiences to another time and place, a world of heightened spectacle where myth comes to life through music.

Starring in the title role is Alexandra Loutsion, making her Austin Opera debut, but no stranger to this demanding role – garnering praise for her portrayal of the ice princess nationally. Her doomed prince is performed by returning tenor Jonathan Burton, who was last seen in Ariadne auf Naxos. Conducting this final production of the season is Artistic Advisor, Timothy Myers, returning after last season’s triumphant production of Silent Night. Directing this production is Garnett Bruce, an Austin Opera favorite, returning to Austin after last directing Madama Butterfly in 2017.

With exquisite, classic sets and costumes from Lyric Opera of Kansas City, this epic opera is a feast for the senses.

Total Time: approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes in length with one 25- minute intermission

*Patrons must be 8 years of age or older to attend.

Cast and Production
2019 headshot website edit

Evan K. Brown
Emperor

Brendan Boyle
Prince of Persia

Production

Music: Giacomo Puccini
Libretto: Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni
Conductor: Timothy Myers
Stage Director: Garnett Bruce
Scenic Design: R. Keith Brumley
Costume Design:  Mary Traylor
Lighting Design: James Sale

Text after Gozzi’s fable
Sung in Italian, with English supertitles
An opera in 3 acts

*Austin Opera debut

Synopsis

ACT I

Peking, in the mythic past. Outside the Imperial Palace, a mandarin reads an edict to the crowd: Any prince seeking to marry Princess Turandot must answer three riddles. If he fails, he will die. The most recent suitor, the Prince of Persia, is to be executed at the moon’s rising. Among the onlookers are the slave girl Liù, her aged master, and the young Calàf, who recognizes the old man as his long-lost father, Timur, vanquished King of Tartary. Only Liù has remained faithful to him, and when Calàf asks her why, she replies that once, long ago, Calàf smiled at her. The mob cries for blood but greets the rising moon with a sudden fearful silence. As the Prince of Persia goes to his death, the crowd calls upon the princess to spare him. Turandot appears in her palace and wordlessly orders the execution to proceed. Transfixed by the beauty of the unattainable princess, Calàf decides to win her, to the horror of Liù and Timur. The three ministers of state, Ping, Pang, and Pong, appear and also try to discourage him, but Calàf is unmoved. He reassures Liù, then strikes the gong that announces a new suitor. 

ACT II

Within their private apartments, Ping, Pang, and Pong lament Turandot’s bloody reign, hoping that love will conquer her and restore peace. Their thoughts wander to their peaceful country homes, but the noise of the crowd gathering to witness the riddle challenge calls them back to reality.

In the royal throne room, the old emperor asks Calàf to reconsider, but the young man will not be dissuaded. Turandot arrives. She recounts the story of her beautiful ancestor, Princess Lou-Ling, who was abducted and killed by a conquering prince. In revenge, Turandot has turned against men and determined that none shall ever possess her. Trumpets then herald the beginning of the riddles. Turandot poses her first question to Calàf: What is born each night and dies each dawn? “Hope,” Calàf answers correctly. Turandot continues: What flickers red and warm like a flame, yet is not a flame? “Blood,” Calàf replies after a moment’s thought. Shaken, Turandot delivers the third riddle: What is like ice but burns, and if it accepts you as a slave, makes you a king? Tense silence prevails until Calàf triumphantly cries “Turandot!” The crowd erupts in joy, and the princess vainly begs her father not to give her to the stranger. Hoping to win her love, Calàf offers Turandot a challenge of his own: If she can learn his name by dawn, he will forfeit his life.

ACT III

At night in the Imperial Gardens, Calàf hears a proclamation: On pain of death, no one in Peking shall sleep until Turandot learns the stranger’s name. Calàf is certain of his victory, but Ping, Pang, and Pong try to bribe him to leave the city. As the fearful mob threatens him to learn his name, soldiers drag in Liù and Timur. Calàf tries to convince the crowd that neither of them knows his secret. When Turandot appears, commanding Timur to speak, Liù replies that she alone knows the stranger’s identity and will never reveal it. Soldiers torture her, but she remains silent. Impressed by her fortitude, Turandot asks what gives Liù the strength to resist. It is love, she replies. When the torture intensifies, Liù tells Turandot that she, too, will know the joys of love. Then she snatches a dagger and kills herself. The crowd forms a funeral procession, and Timur follows as they take away her body. Turandot remains alone to confront Calàf, who impetuously kisses her. Knowing emotion for the first time, Turandot weeps. Calàf, now sure of winning her, reveals his identity.

Once again before the emperor’s throne, Turandot declares she knows the stranger’s name: It is Love.

7:30PM, Saturday, April 25, 2020
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704
7:30PM, Thursday, April 30, 2020
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704
2:30PM, Sunday, May 3, 2020
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704
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