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on June 07, 2024
Music Giacomo Puccini Text Giuseppe Adami & Renato Simoni
→ Oper in drei Akten

Future dates

01. June 2024
19.00 - 21.45
1 intermission
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04. June 2024
19.00 - 21.45
1 intermission
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07. June 2024
19.00 - 21.45
1 intermission
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10. June 2024
19.00 - 21.45
1 intermission
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Cast 07.06.2024

Conductor Axel Kober
Production Claus Guth
Stage Design Etienne Pluss
Costume Design Ursula Kudrna
Choreography Sommer Ulrickson
Lighting Design Olaf Freese
Video rocafilm
Dramaturge Konrad Kuhn


When Calaf, the dethroned Mongol prince who has fled to Peking, falls in love with Princess Turandot, he is in mortal danger. He can only be her bridegroom if he solves the Princess’s three riddles. Anyone who fails will be executed, like all the previous can didates. Calaf’s father, Timur, and Liù, who loves Calaf without his knowledge, plead with him in vain. He accepts the challenge.

About this work
Turandot poses three riddles. Three ministers warn of the death awaiting the candidate who does not answer them. And three artists then tried to complete Giacomo Puccini’s unfinished work as the dead composer intended.

In the score of Puccini, the great musical storyteller, the individual and society form a highly disturbing contrast. The inflexible system which Turandot has created around herself has ceremonial and grotesque features, total organisation and manipulated mass hysteria. A world suspended between Turandot’s impregnable attraction and apparently unceasing rituals of application, warning, testing and death. It is peopled by shadows and priests. Harshly exaggerated ministers utter their warnings in a tone veering musically between provocation and mockery – we believe them when they say they are equally preparing for a wedding and a funeral. As a basis for all this, the score and the state, there is the mob which varies between screaming for blood and begging for mercy for the condemned. An incalculable, uncanny multitude.

Program booklet (2,50€)

Photo credit © Monika Rittershaus


The mandarin proclaims the law: Princess Turandot will be the bride of the prince who can solve the three riddles she poses him. If he fails, he will be executed. The Prince of Persia has just made the attempt and failed. The mob calls for the execu- tioner. In this situation Calaf finds his father Timur, the de- throned King of the Tartars, whom he believed to be dead. He was brought to safety by the slave girl Liù after his overthrow, who has been caring for him since. When Calaf asks her why she made this sacrifice, Liù explains that Calaf had smiled at her once in the palace. The Prince of Persia is led to his execution. At the sight of him, the previously bloodthirsty mob pleads for mercy for him. Calaf joins in the call. But when he sees Turan- dot, he falls in love with her that instant and now wants to challenge her riddles. The ministers Ping, Pang and Pong try to dissuade him from this. Liù and Timur beg him to reconsider, but Calaf has decided he will accept the challenge.


Ping, Pang and Pong talk about the many princes who have died in the attempt to win Turandot, and dream of their own private happiness. The test begins. Altoum, emperor of China and Turandot’s father, is tired of the slaughter. He calls on Calaf to give up and go his way. Calaf insists on the test. The manda- rin proclaims the law again. Turandot explains the origin of the law. Many thousands of years ago, her ancestor Lo-u-Ling had been seized by a man, raped and killed. Now, she is taking her revenge on the princes who dare ask for her hand. No one will possess her. Calaf calls for her to pose the riddles. To Turandot’s horror, he finds the right answer three times. The princess begs her father not to give her to the strange prince, but he refuses, pointing out that he has taken a holy oath. When Turandot asks if Calaf will make her his wife by force, he rejects this, saying that he wants her love. He offers an escape. If she can discover his name before dawn, he will submit to his fate.


The entire city is trying desperately to discover Calaf’s name. Turandot has threatened executions if they fail. Ping, Pang and Pong try to bribe Calaf, then they appeal to his sympathy, but all in vain. When the mob is ready for violence, henchmen bring in Timur and Liù. Calaf immediately denies any link, but the ministers realise that the two know Calaf and can give his name. Turandot tries everything to get Timur to speak. To protect him, Liù declares that she alone knows the prince’s name, but she refuses even under the threat of torture to give it up. When Turandot asks what the root of her strength is, she answers it is love. She predicts that Turandot will also come to love, and then takes her own life. In the general emotion, Calaf and Turandot are left alone. She still refuses to submit to Calaf. The kiss he steals from her changes the situation. She weeps her first tears, and admits that she has feared him but also loved him. He should be satisfied with this and walk away with his secret. He puts his life in her hands by voluntarily surrendering his name, Calaf, son of Timur. In the following decisive ceremony, Turandot announces to the emperor, her father, that the name of the stranger is “love”.