Turandot COC banner

TURANDOT

Giacomo Puccini
To

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Performance time is approximately two hours and 25 minutes, including one intermission.

#COCTurandot

What makes Turandot so special?

Princess Turandot will marry any suitor who can solve her three riddles — but answer even one wrong and they’ll face the executioner’s blade.

This dark fairytale has been reimagined by director Robert Wilson, “a towering figure in the world of experimental theater” (The New York Times).

Features “Nessun dorma,” the larger-than-life opera anthem popularized by Luciano Pavarotti at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

“Masterful musical performance… an astounding reinvention of Puccini’s classic”
Opera Canada


Credits
Sung in Italian with English SURTITLESTM

Download the 2019 Fall House Program.



CAST AND CREATIVE TEAMS

Conductor Carlo Rizzi
Director, Design, and Lighting Concept Robert Wilson
Co-Director Nicola Panzer
Assistant Directors Fani Sarantari & Marilyn Gronsdal
Co-Set Designer Stephanie Engeln
Costume Designer Jacques Reynaud
Assistant Costume Designer Davide Boni
Co-Lighting Designers John Torres
Make-up Designer Manu Halligan
Dramaturg José Enrique Macián
Video Artist Tomek Jeziorski

Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst
Production Consultant Richard Lee


Turandot Tamara Wilson/Marjorie Owens*
Calaf Sergey Skorokhodov/Kamen Chanev*
Liù Joyce El-Khoury***/Vanessa Vasquez**
Timur David Leigh/Önay Köse*
Jim/Ping Adrian Timpau
Bob/Pang Julius Ahn
Bill/Pong Joseph Hu
Emperor Altoum Adrian Thompson
The Mandarin Joel Allison
The Prince of Persia Matthew Cairns

*Oct. 23, 25, 2019
**Oct. 15, 17, 23, 25, 2019
***Sept. 28, Oct. 4, 9, 19, 27, 2019

New COC co-production with Teatro Real Madrid, Houston Grand Opera and the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Vilnius

With the COC Orchestra & Chorus, and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company

In this production, the names of the three ministers have been changed. Click here for more information.

The Story

THE STORY

Princess Turandot knows that marriage can be a dangerous commitment. That’s why all her suitors must answer three riddles – and if they get even one wrong, they face the executioner’s blade. Despite the mortal risk, the exiled prince Calaf is determined to try and win her heart.

FULL SYNOPSIS

ACT I

A court official reads out a declaration: any prince who wishes to marry Princess Turandot must answer three riddles. One wrong answer, and they’ll be executed.

One of her failed suitors the Prince of Persia is to be killed that very night, which stirs the crowd into an excited frenzy. An old man, Timur, is knocked down in the commotion; Liu, a slave who cares for him, cries out in alarm.

The exiled prince Calaf is drawn by Timur and Liu’s distress. He realizes that Timur is in fact his long-lost father, who used to rule this kingdom until he was overthrown in battle. Liu has been caring for Timur ever since then, all because Calaf once smiled at her in court.

Their joyful reunion is interrupted by the court’s proceedings. The crowd eagerly calls for the sharpening of the executioner’s blade and begs for the moon to arrive, which will trigger the night’s killing.

But when the Prince of Persia is brought out, the crowd softens. They realize just how young he is, and how cruel it would be to cut his life short. Turandot arrives and the crowd calls for her mercy. Unmoved, she orders his death.

Calaf is struck by both her beauty and her icy decree; he wants his chance to marry her. Three court ministers (Ping, Pang, and Pong) try to stop him, and so do Liu and Timur. But Calaf’s mind and heart are set: he strikes the court’s gong and calls Turandot’s name.

He will face her challenge.

ACT II

Ping, Pang, and Pong reminisce about the many executions they have witnessed under Turandot’s orders. The Emperor doesn’t want to see any more bloodshed and tries to convince Calaf to stand down, but is unsuccessful.

It turns out Turandot has good reason to be wary of men: her ancestor was murdered by a prince. That’s why she protects herself with riddles, and that’s why the suitors who answer incorrectly are executed.

She asks Calaf all three riddles and, to everyone’s astonishment, he’s able to answer them correctly.

But there’s another twist. Since Turandot clearly does not want to marry him, Calaf offers her a way out: if she can discover his name by morning, he will offer his life to her. She accepts his challenge, and the tables are turned.

ACT III

Turandot orders everyone in her realm to seek out Calaf’s name, foregoing sleep and under threat of death.

While the search continues, Ping, Pang, and Pong try to bribe Calaf to leave town, but he is determined to hold up his end of the bargain.

Desperate to discover Calaf’s name, a mob threatens Timur and Liu to reveal it. To protect Timur, Liu proclaims that only she knows the name. She is tortured but refuses to say Calaf’s name. Mystified by this devotion, Turandot asks Liu why she would sacrifice herself for a man. Liu explains that it’s love. She would rather trade her life for his, and she kills herself before she can be forced to reveal his name.

The sun rises, which means Turandot has failed Calaf’s challenge. But while technically she must marry him under their agreement, Calaf does not want her to do so unwillingly. He offers her the chance to kill him instead.

Between Liu’s sacrifice and Calaf’s own offer to die for her, Turandot becomes convinced that marriage and love are worth the risk. She joyfully agrees to marry Calaf and declares that his true name is “Love.”

PHOTOS




Photo credits: Tamara Wilson as Turandot and Sergey Skorokhodov as Calaf, Tamara Wilson (foreground) as Turandot, scenes from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Turandot, (2019), photos: Michael Cooper

WATCH

Trailer | Puccini's Turandot, September 2019

One of opera's biggest blockbusters is reimagined by legendary director and multidisciplinary artist Robert Wilson.

 

Carlo Rizzi Deconstructs "Nessun dorma", September 2019

Conductor Carlo Rizzi takes us through “Nessun dorma” (“None shall sleep”), Turandot’s musical calling card. Popularized by Luciano Pavarotti at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, it’s the tune that films, commercials, and reality shows reach for when things get larger than life.

 

The Wilsonian World | Discussing Robert Wilson, September 2019

We explore Robert Wilson's striking artistic style with Janice Price (President & CEO of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity) and Dr. Pia Kleber (Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto).

 

Tamara Wilson on Turandot, September 2019

Ahead of her role debut as Princess Turandot in Robert Wilson's new production of Puccini's Turandot, soprano Tamara Wilson reflects on the challenges of singing, working with director Robert Wilson, and Marie Kondo-ing opera.

 

WATCH: ROBERT WILSON’S PAST WORK
Shakespeare's Sonnets, June 2011

Sonnet 66 "Tired with all these, for restful death I cry"



Philip Glass' Einstein on the Beach, November 2016



Puccini's Madama Butterfly (Opus Arte), May 2007

"Robert Wilson's pure and highly stylised 2003 production enhances the timeless beauty of Puccini's moving Japanese tragedy." Opus Arte

Listen



Puccini’s Turandot. Joan Sutherland (Turandot), Luciano Pavarotti (Calaf), Montserrat Caballé (Liù). Zubin Mehta, conductor, with the London Philharmonia Orchestra, 1973. Decca

READ

Director's Notes: Turandot

Puccini’s Turandot was inspired by Schiller’s early-19th-century German adaptation of an 18th-century Italian comedy by Carlo Gozzi, who drew on a French retelling of a supposedly traditional Persian fairytale set in ancient China. Gozzi created a piece in the style of commedia dell’arte, a codified theatre form with set characters, story lines, and gestures.

READ MORE

Your Guide to Puccini's Turandot

Turandot’s subject matter was a departure for Puccini, who had spent almost the entirety of his career writing operas rooted in realism — La Bohème, for example, is about penniless artists trying to make it in Paris; Tosca is a thriller about an opera singer caught in a game of cat-and-mouse during the French Revolutionary Wars. But with Turandot, Puccini took a decisive turn away from stories about real people in specific places and entered a realm of the fantastical.

READ MORE

The Turandot Problem

How do we watch and listen (and hopefully enjoy) Puccini’s Turandot in 2019? It is a challenge to our sensibilities because the work comes from a vastly different historical moment than our own.

READ MORE

EVENTS

OPERA INSIGHTS

Storytelling Through Movement: Robert Wilson’s Turandot
Thursday, September 26, 2019

7 - 8:30 p.m.
Education Centre
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

While music might be the first thing you notice in seeing an opera, in this discussion we will unpack the unique power of gesture and movement as a means of storytelling. Featuring Turandot co-director Nicola Panzer and hosted by popular pre-opera chat lecturer Stephan Bonfield, learn how choreography and dance has been used in opera throughout history, evolving from the stylized Baroque period to its important narrative role in Robert Wilson’s masterful production of Turandot, showing this fall on the COC mainstage.

RESERVE NOW



Crossing Borders: the Origins and Evolution of Puccini’s Turandot
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

7 - 8:30 p.m.
Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Rooted in Nizami’s 12th century Persian epic poem about a Russian princess, the story of Turandot has inspired adaptations around the world. Carlo Gozzi, Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and, of course, Giacomo Puccini have all created versions of this captivating tale. Join musicologist Tony Sheppard and gain new insights into the origins and evolutions of Puccini’s Turandot. This event also features a member of the Ensemble Studio performing one of their favourite arias from this captivating opera.

RESERVE NOW
  • Sung in Italian with English SURTITLESTM

    Download the 2019 Fall House Program.


    CAST AND CREATIVE TEAMS

    Conductor Carlo Rizzi
    Director, Design, and Lighting Concept Robert Wilson
    Co-Director Nicola Panzer
    Assistant Directors Fani Sarantari & Marilyn Gronsdal
    Co-Set Designer Stephanie Engeln
    Costume Designer Jacques Reynaud
    Assistant Costume Designer Davide Boni
    Co-Lighting Designers John Torres
    Make-up Designer Manu Halligan
    Dramaturg José Enrique Macián
    Video Artist Tomek Jeziorski

    Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst
    Production Consultant Richard Lee


    Turandot Tamara Wilson/Marjorie Owens*
    Calaf Sergey Skorokhodov/Kamen Chanev*
    Liù Joyce El-Khoury***/Vanessa Vasquez**
    Timur David Leigh/Önay Köse*
    Jim/Ping Adrian Timpau
    Bob/Pang Julius Ahn
    Bill/Pong Joseph Hu
    Emperor Altoum Adrian Thompson
    The Mandarin Joel Allison
    The Prince of Persia Matthew Cairns

    *Oct. 23, 25, 2019
    **Oct. 15, 17, 23, 25, 2019
    ***Sept. 28, Oct. 4, 9, 19, 27, 2019

    New COC co-production with Teatro Real Madrid, Houston Grand Opera and the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Vilnius

    With the COC Orchestra & Chorus, and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company

    In this production, the names of the three ministers have been changed. Click here for more information.

  • THE STORY

    Princess Turandot knows that marriage can be a dangerous commitment. That’s why all her suitors must answer three riddles – and if they get even one wrong, they face the executioner’s blade. Despite the mortal risk, the exiled prince Calaf is determined to try and win her heart.

    FULL SYNOPSIS

    ACT I

    A court official reads out a declaration: any prince who wishes to marry Princess Turandot must answer three riddles. One wrong answer, and they’ll be executed.

    One of her failed suitors the Prince of Persia is to be killed that very night, which stirs the crowd into an excited frenzy. An old man, Timur, is knocked down in the commotion; Liu, a slave who cares for him, cries out in alarm.

    The exiled prince Calaf is drawn by Timur and Liu’s distress. He realizes that Timur is in fact his long-lost father, who used to rule this kingdom until he was overthrown in battle. Liu has been caring for Timur ever since then, all because Calaf once smiled at her in court.

    Their joyful reunion is interrupted by the court’s proceedings. The crowd eagerly calls for the sharpening of the executioner’s blade and begs for the moon to arrive, which will trigger the night’s killing.

    But when the Prince of Persia is brought out, the crowd softens. They realize just how young he is, and how cruel it would be to cut his life short. Turandot arrives and the crowd calls for her mercy. Unmoved, she orders his death.

    Calaf is struck by both her beauty and her icy decree; he wants his chance to marry her. Three court ministers (Ping, Pang, and Pong) try to stop him, and so do Liu and Timur. But Calaf’s mind and heart are set: he strikes the court’s gong and calls Turandot’s name.

    He will face her challenge.

    ACT II

    Ping, Pang, and Pong reminisce about the many executions they have witnessed under Turandot’s orders. The Emperor doesn’t want to see any more bloodshed and tries to convince Calaf to stand down, but is unsuccessful.

    It turns out Turandot has good reason to be wary of men: her ancestor was murdered by a prince. That’s why she protects herself with riddles, and that’s why the suitors who answer incorrectly are executed.

    She asks Calaf all three riddles and, to everyone’s astonishment, he’s able to answer them correctly.

    But there’s another twist. Since Turandot clearly does not want to marry him, Calaf offers her a way out: if she can discover his name by morning, he will offer his life to her. She accepts his challenge, and the tables are turned.

    ACT III

    Turandot orders everyone in her realm to seek out Calaf’s name, foregoing sleep and under threat of death.

    While the search continues, Ping, Pang, and Pong try to bribe Calaf to leave town, but he is determined to hold up his end of the bargain.

    Desperate to discover Calaf’s name, a mob threatens Timur and Liu to reveal it. To protect Timur, Liu proclaims that only she knows the name. She is tortured but refuses to say Calaf’s name. Mystified by this devotion, Turandot asks Liu why she would sacrifice herself for a man. Liu explains that it’s love. She would rather trade her life for his, and she kills herself before she can be forced to reveal his name.

    The sun rises, which means Turandot has failed Calaf’s challenge. But while technically she must marry him under their agreement, Calaf does not want her to do so unwillingly. He offers her the chance to kill him instead.

    Between Liu’s sacrifice and Calaf’s own offer to die for her, Turandot becomes convinced that marriage and love are worth the risk. She joyfully agrees to marry Calaf and declares that his true name is “Love.”





  • Photo credits: Tamara Wilson as Turandot and Sergey Skorokhodov as Calaf, Tamara Wilson (foreground) as Turandot, scenes from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Turandot, (2019), photos: Michael Cooper

  • Trailer | Puccini's Turandot, September 2019

    One of opera's biggest blockbusters is reimagined by legendary director and multidisciplinary artist Robert Wilson.

     

    Carlo Rizzi Deconstructs "Nessun dorma", September 2019

    Conductor Carlo Rizzi takes us through “Nessun dorma” (“None shall sleep”), Turandot’s musical calling card. Popularized by Luciano Pavarotti at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, it’s the tune that films, commercials, and reality shows reach for when things get larger than life.

     

    The Wilsonian World | Discussing Robert Wilson, September 2019

    We explore Robert Wilson's striking artistic style with Janice Price (President & CEO of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity) and Dr. Pia Kleber (Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto).

     

    Tamara Wilson on Turandot, September 2019

    Ahead of her role debut as Princess Turandot in Robert Wilson's new production of Puccini's Turandot, soprano Tamara Wilson reflects on the challenges of singing, working with director Robert Wilson, and Marie Kondo-ing opera.

     

    WATCH: ROBERT WILSON’S PAST WORK
    Shakespeare's Sonnets, June 2011

    Sonnet 66 "Tired with all these, for restful death I cry"



    Philip Glass' Einstein on the Beach, November 2016



    Puccini's Madama Butterfly (Opus Arte), May 2007

    "Robert Wilson's pure and highly stylised 2003 production enhances the timeless beauty of Puccini's moving Japanese tragedy." Opus Arte




  • Puccini’s Turandot. Joan Sutherland (Turandot), Luciano Pavarotti (Calaf), Montserrat Caballé (Liù). Zubin Mehta, conductor, with the London Philharmonia Orchestra, 1973. Decca

  • Director's Notes: Turandot

    Puccini’s Turandot was inspired by Schiller’s early-19th-century German adaptation of an 18th-century Italian comedy by Carlo Gozzi, who drew on a French retelling of a supposedly traditional Persian fairytale set in ancient China. Gozzi created a piece in the style of commedia dell’arte, a codified theatre form with set characters, story lines, and gestures.

    READ MORE

    Your Guide to Puccini's Turandot

    Turandot’s subject matter was a departure for Puccini, who had spent almost the entirety of his career writing operas rooted in realism — La Bohème, for example, is about penniless artists trying to make it in Paris; Tosca is a thriller about an opera singer caught in a game of cat-and-mouse during the French Revolutionary Wars. But with Turandot, Puccini took a decisive turn away from stories about real people in specific places and entered a realm of the fantastical.

    READ MORE

    The Turandot Problem

    How do we watch and listen (and hopefully enjoy) Puccini’s Turandot in 2019? It is a challenge to our sensibilities because the work comes from a vastly different historical moment than our own.

    READ MORE

  • OPERA INSIGHTS

    Storytelling Through Movement: Robert Wilson’s Turandot
    Thursday, September 26, 2019

    7 - 8:30 p.m.
    Education Centre
    Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

    While music might be the first thing you notice in seeing an opera, in this discussion we will unpack the unique power of gesture and movement as a means of storytelling. Featuring Turandot co-director Nicola Panzer and hosted by popular pre-opera chat lecturer Stephan Bonfield, learn how choreography and dance has been used in opera throughout history, evolving from the stylized Baroque period to its important narrative role in Robert Wilson’s masterful production of Turandot, showing this fall on the COC mainstage.

    RESERVE NOW



    Crossing Borders: the Origins and Evolution of Puccini’s Turandot
    Wednesday, October 2, 2019

    7 - 8:30 p.m.
    Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre
    Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

    Rooted in Nizami’s 12th century Persian epic poem about a Russian princess, the story of Turandot has inspired adaptations around the world. Carlo Gozzi, Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and, of course, Giacomo Puccini have all created versions of this captivating tale. Join musicologist Tony Sheppard and gain new insights into the origins and evolutions of Puccini’s Turandot. This event also features a member of the Ensemble Studio performing one of their favourite arias from this captivating opera.

    RESERVE NOW

2019/2020 season creative: BT/A


Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts capacity: 2,070
Ticket prices do not include service fees, $9 CAD.

TURANDOT

Giacomo Puccini
To

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Performance time is approximately two hours and 25 minutes, including one intermission.

#COCTurandot

What makes Turandot so special?

Princess Turandot will marry any suitor who can solve her three riddles — but answer even one wrong and they’ll face the executioner’s blade.

This dark fairytale has been reimagined by director Robert Wilson, “a towering figure in the world of experimental theater” (The New York Times).

Features “Nessun dorma,” the larger-than-life opera anthem popularized by Luciano Pavarotti at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

“Masterful musical performance… an astounding reinvention of Puccini’s classic”
Opera Canada

Phone: 416-363-8231

Toll Free: 1-800-250-4653

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