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Trivia / Turandot

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  • Given that this is supposed to be a massive spectacle, watch for Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever. The San Francisco production in 1977 had a huge Buddha statue, which actually moved and wept Tears of Blood when Calaf kissed the Princess into life. In Florida in 2010, the Emperor's throne was held in the claws of a gigantic dragon who took up half the stage.
  • All-Star Cast: As Turandot, Calaf, Liu, and Timur...
    • Audio Recordings:
      • 1957, conducted by Tullio Serafin: Maria Callas, Eugenio Fernandi, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Nicola Zaccaria
      • 1959, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf: Birgit Nilsson, Jussi Björling, Renata Tebaldi, Giorgio Tozzi
      • 1964, conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni: Birgit Nilsson, Franco Corelli, Galina Vishnevskaya, Nicola Zaccaria
      • 1965, conducted by Francesco Molinari-Pradelli: Birgit Nilsson, Franco Corelli, Renata Scotto, Bonaldo Giaiotti
      • 1972, conducted by Zubin Mehta: Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Montserrat Caballé, Nicolai Ghiaurov
      • 1977, conducted by Riccardo Chailly: Montserrat Caballé, Luciano Pavarotti, Leona Mitchell, Giorgio Tozzi
      • 1984, conducted by Herbert von Karajan: Katia Ricciarelli, Plácido Domingo, Barbara Hendricks, Ruggero Raimondi
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    • Video Recordings:
      • 1983, conducted by Maurizio Arena at the Arena di Verona: Ghena Dimitrova, Nicola Martinucci, Cecilia Gasdia, Ivo Vinco
      • 1988, conducted by James Levine at the Met Opera: Éva Marton, Plácido Domingo, Leona Mitchell, Paul Plishka
      • 1998, conducted by Zubin Mehta (Turandot at the Forbidden City): Giovanna Casolla, Sergej Larin, Barbara Frittoli, Carlo Colombara
  • Author Existence Failure: As said above, Puccini died while the opera was incomplete. His student, Franco Alfano, finished it for him. And when the director of its premiere (Arturo Toscanini), who detested Alfano's work as a hatchet job, reached the point in the music where Puccini had died, he stopped the performance to tell the audience "Here the Maestro laid down his pen".
    • A witness speaking in 1974 remembered Toscanini saying Qui, il Maestro fini. (Here, the Maestro finished.)
  • Dawson Casting: 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".
  • Wham Shot: By Liu as played by Barbara Frittoli in Turandot at the Forbidden City. If you know the story, you're aware that she kills herself, but even the most jaded viewer might be shocked at her badass move. Most Liu's grab a dagger from one of the guards behind them and stab themselves in the breast or stomach. In this production, having finished her plea to Turandot, she lunges forward, snatches a long hairpin from the Princess' coiffure, and stabs herself in the throat.
    • Edda Moser used to kill herself on the run, falling dead in midstride and sliding clear across the stage to land at Calaf's feet. She moved so fast it took the audience a second or two to realize what they'd seen.


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