[[caption-width-right:309:Believe her when she says she'll have your head on a stick]]

''Turandot'' is an {{opera}} by Music/GiacomoPuccini.

In ancient [[ImperialChina Beijing]], the beautiful [[IceQueen ice princess]] Turandot executes any potential suitor who can't answer her three riddles. Nevertheless, the poor lads seem to come to the city in spades, and among them our [[TheHero Hero]], the Unknown Prince Calaf. Upon his arrival on stage, he meets his long-lost father, the old and blind Timur, and with him his guide, the slave girl Liu. Cue the last of Turandot's unhappy suitors, the Prince of Persia (no, not ''[[PrinceOfPersia that]]'' one), being sentenced and beheaded. Calaf sees Turandot for the first time and immediately [[LoveAtFirstSight falls in love with her]] (duh). Everyone, including Turandot's three ministers, tries to talk some sense into the enamored prince, but he, of course, is determined to win Turandot's hand [[{{Determinator}} no matter what]]. He manages to answer her riddles correctly, and theoretically, he's the winner, but Turandot still refuses to marry him. Calaf, being a prince and a gentleman, offers his conditions: if she learns his name before sun rises, she can add his head to her palace's [[NightmareFuel fancy decorations]]. If not, however, she must shut up and become his wife.

Turandot gleefully tells her people they must learn the Unknown Prince's name before night ends or she'll [[KillEmAll kill 'em all]] [[CruelAndUnusualDeath in most horrid ways imaginable]]. Cue Calaf, singing his famous aria "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3kpbPv2vPo Nessun Dorma]]". The Beijing folks try to bribe Calaf to get himself out of there and thus save their arses, but he's a [[IdiotHero Heroic Tenor]], so he won't listen. Then Timur and Liu are brought on stage, tied up and beaten. They've been noticed speaking to Calaf in the beginning of the opera, so they're supposed to know his name. Turandot comes and mass torture is about to ensue, when Liu says she alone knows his name but won't tell. She then [[HeroicSacrifice kills]] [[DrivenToSuicide herself]], fearing she might give Calaf's name away under the [[ColdBloodedTorture horrible tortures]]. Followed by the epic TearJerker when everyone mourns the brave little Liu and carries her body off the stage.

At this point, ''Turandot'' suffered a major case of AuthorExistenceFailure, because Giacomo Puccini died of laryngial cancer after he gave up on the opera nine months before. He visited the conductor Arturo Toscanini before he went away to chemotherapy and begged him: [[PosthumousCollaboration "Don't let my Turandot die!"]]. It was left to his disciple Franco Alfano to finish the opera, although he initially wanted Riccardo Zandonai according to his notes. [[ExecutiveMeddling But the publisher Ricordi chose Alfano because they assumed he would make more money, which proved to be wrong.]] The ending is still wildly debated to this day, and some other composers, namely Luciano Berio, have written their own versions.

It's a famous opera and known to be freakishly difficult to sing, especially the parts of Turandot and Calaf.

!!Tropes include:
%% Zero context examples have been commented out. Please write up an actual example before uncommenting.

%% * AntagonistTitle
%% * AuthorExistenceFailure
* BetaCouple: Liu and Timur, a non-romantic example.
* BettyAndVeronica: Liu and Turandot
* BreakTheCutie: Poor, poor little Liu.
* CaptainObvious: The three ministers Ping, Pong and Pang. They also qualify as
* [[DeadpanSnarker Deadpan Snarkers]]
* DefrostingIceQueen: What Turandot is after Calaf gives her a passionate ForcefulKiss. Some of the lyrics make this comparison explicit.
* {{Determinator}}: "Let the whole world fall, I want Turandot!". [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Yeah, sure]].
* DawsonCasting: As often happens in opera, Turandot is supposed to be a young girl but it's an extremely difficult part to sing and is usually not taken by anyone younger than 35. Inverted with Timur, Calaf's aged father, who's often played by a singer at least a decade younger than his supposed "son".
* DoesNotLikeMen: Turandot is willing to execute the entire population of Beijing to avoid getting married.
* DragonLady: One of the classical examples of the exotic, beautiful Chinese villainess.
* EvilSoundsDeep: Inverted. The bass Timur is a nice old guy, the baritone Ping is snarky but not evil, and the lead soprano, let's face it, is a total bitch.
%% * FemmeFatale
* FemmeFatalons: Turandot often has them, as a noblewoman of China would have had.
* FinalLoveDuet: Calaf and Turandot get one. Not very convincing, though.
* [[GodsHandsAreTied God-Emperor's Hands Are Tied]]: The Emperor, who was a living god in ancient China, is legally bound to let his daughter play her deadly game of riddles.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Technically, the princess, but she's the one who rules.
%%* HeroicSacrifice
* IWantSong: "Nessun Dorma", though it's more like an I'll Have Song.
* KarmaHoudini: Turandot has a fancy for torture (as her three ministers tell us), she has executed 13 people already (and probably much more in the past) and has driven [[IncorruptiblePurePureness a loving, caring and innocent girl]] [[DrivenToSuicide to suicide]]. And what does she get in the end? A [[HappilyEverAfter Happy Marriage]], no less.
* LargeHam: You ''have'' to be this to pull off Turandot. Or for that matter Calaf.
* LoveTriangle: Calaf, Turandot, Liu.
* MessianicArchetype: Liu. Often lampshaded with a CrucifiedHeroShot in Act 3.
* PleaseWakeUp: Timur to Liu. It ''hurts''.
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: Just how many times have you heard [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUkTKAg7HHM this tune]]?
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Turandot keeps beheading men because eons ago some foreign jerk [[RapeAsBackstory violated and killed]] her great-great-great-grandmother.
* TenorBoy: Though of a more manly variety than usual.
* TheseQuestionsThree: Turandot's challenge to her suitors, with death as the penalty for not answering correctly.
* [[ThoseTwoGuys Those Three Guys]]: Ping, Pang, Pong
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: Liu
* VillainousBSOD: Turandot gets one after seeing Liu kill herself.