Nina Stemme takes on the title role of the proud princess of ancient China, whose riddles doom every suitor who seeks her hand, opposite Marco Berti as Calàf, the brave prince who sings “Nessun dorma” and wins her love. Anita Hartig and Leah Crocetto share the role of Liù, the faithful slave girl. Franco Zeffirelli’s golden production is conducted by Paolo Carignani.
January 11, 15, 18, 22,26, 30, 2016
World premiere: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, April 1926. Met and U.S. premiere: November 16, 1926. Puccini’s final opera is an epic fairy tale set in a China of legend, loosely based on a play by 18th-century Italian dramatist Carlo Gozzi. Featuring a most unusual score with an astounding and innovative use of chorus and orchestra, it is still recognizably Puccini, bursting with instantly appealing melody. The unenviable task of completing the opera’s final scene upon Puccini’s sudden death was left to the composer Franco Alfano. Conductor Arturo Toscanini oversaw Alfano’s contribution and led the world premiere.
Production Franco Zeffirelli
Set Designer Franco Zeffirelli
Costume Designers Dada Saligeri
Costume Designers Anna Anni
Lighting Designer Gil Wechsler
Choreographer Chiang Ching
CAST AND ARTISTIC TEAM
In Gozzi’s play, the original commedia dell’arte characters wandered from Italy to China and were members of the Imperial court. Their comments satirized Venetian politics and mores of the times. Puccini and his librettists dispensed with any such relevance. The China of this opera, set in “legendary times,” is a mythical land where the clash of the sexes is drawn in high relief.