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

''Turandot'' is an {{opera}} by Music/GiacomoPuccini. It is mostly based on a 16th-century stage play version of an ancient fairytale first set in writing by a 12th-century Persian poet.

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 droves, 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 King Timur, and with him his guide, the slave girl Liu.[[note]]They are [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartary Tartars]], who suffered a crushing defeat from the Chinese years ago, thus why the royals are WalkingTheEarth.[[/note]] 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 Puccini and Toscanini initially wanted the experienced opera composer [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riccardo_Zandonai Riccardo Zandonai]] according to his notes. [[ExecutiveMeddling But the publisher Ricordi chose Alfano because they assumed he'd be more popular with audiences and generate more money]] -- which proved to be wrong.[[note]]What we think of as "Alfano's ending" was laboriously stitched together from Puccini's outlines -- in places so illegible that Alfano was using a magnifying glass, and went temporarily blind with the effort. It isn't even the complete ending Alfano wrote. It's what Toscanini chose to include from what he wrote.[[/note]] [[https://youtu.be/VgTkzN1fETU?t=5886 The ending]] is [[http://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/jun/08/artsfeatures still wildly debated]] [[http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1992-10-11/features/1992285147_1_turandot-manon-lescaut-puccini to this day]], and some other composers, most recently [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPblqEspFEw Luciano Berio]] and [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQx5shLxLUc Hao Weiya]], 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: Turandot the bloodthirsty princess, clearly.
* BetaCouple: Liu and Timur, a non-romantic example.
* BettyAndVeronica: Liu and Turandot
* BigDamnKiss: What Calaf gives Turandot, really more of a ForcefulKiss. Last-scene rewriter Hao Weiya makes it a gentle TrueLovesKiss.
* BreakTheCutie: Poor, poor little Liu.
* CaptainObvious: The three ministers Ping, Pong and Pang.
* CostumePorn: The page picture is a mild example of how ostentatious Turandot's costumes get. And typically, the whole company is decked out in fancy looking Oriental clothing. See [[http://mariaguleghina.com/img/uploadedimages/2010022494902_BS-Turandot2.jpg here]]. Not to mention the heavy makeup everyone usually wears to make them [[YellowFace look (supposedly) Asian]].
%%* DeadpanSnarker
* DefrostingIceQueen: What Turandot is after Calaf gives her a passionate ForcefulKiss. Some of the lyrics make this comparison explicit.
** Most of the new endings are designed to give the princess a bit of time to melt and get used to the idea.
* {{Determinator}}: "Let the whole world fall, I want Turandot!". [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Yeah, sure]].
* DoesNotLikeMen: Turandot is willing to execute the entire population of Beijing to avoid getting married.
* DoNotGoGentle: ''Nessun Dorma'' has this in shades.
* 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: Turandot completely. She's beautiful, exotic, mysterious and dangerous.
* FemmeFatalons: Turandot often has them, as a noblewoman of China would have had.
* FinalLoveDuet: Calaf and Turandot get one. Not very convincing, though.
* GoOutWithASmile: The Persian prince. As the crowd begs Turandot for mercy, he walks calmly to his death.
* [[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.
* GreekChorus: The chorus. Plus the three ministers, Ping, Pang and Pong. Their gestures and manners are derived from classic Chinese opera combined with Italian ''commedia dell'arte'' stylings.
* HappyEnding: Uncharacteristically for a Puccini opera, ''Turandot'' has one - which probably explains some of the criticism it gets from professional critics. The Berio ending, while exquisitely beautiful and using almost all of Puccini's outline, is [[http://www.soiveheard.com/2002/11/turandot-and-its-not-s0-happy-endings/ more ambiguous]].
* HeroicSacrifice: Liu of course, who takes her own life so that she doesn't accidentally betray Calaf under torture.
* IncrediblyLongNote: LOTS of these. Both the loud and soft varieties. Two famous portrayers of the roles of Turandot and Calaf, Birgit Nilsson and Franco Corelli, used to have friendly competitions over who could hold the famous High C the longest in their synchronised phrase in Act 2.
* 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.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Calaf has already passed the tests and won the princess's hand in marriage. There really is no reason to offer her an extra chance and all it accomplishes is to put every single man, woman and child in Beijing in mortal peril and leads directly to Liu's death.
** His rationale is that Turandot has begged him not to take her by force, as happened to her ancestor.
* PleaseWakeUp: Timur to Liu. It ''hurts''.
* ProtagonistCenteredMorality: Calaf's fixation with getting Turandot is supposed to be romantic, but the guy is willing to let ''an entire city'' '''die''' in order to get her.
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: Just how many times have you heard [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUkTKAg7HHM this tune]]?
* RealPlaceBackground: ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyZHi-yVESQ Turandot at the Forbidden City]]'' might qualify.
* RiddleForTheAges: What did Puccini intend for the opera's ending? Because of combined AuthorExistenceFailure and ExecutiveMeddling, we would never know for sure.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Turandot keeps beheading men because eons ago some foreign jerk [[RapeAsBackstory violated and killed]] her great-great-great-grandmother.
** Specifically, the foreign jerks were ''Tartars'' -- and that's what Calaf is.
* SceneryPorn: Opera directors can get a bit carried away with Turandot's set design. See [[http://www.theopera101.com/static/img/operas/Turandot-Met_Full.jpg here]] and [[http://medias.medici.tv/movie/turandot-puccini-franco-zefirelli-verona_d_jpg_720x405_crop_upscale_q95.jpg here]].
* 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.