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Turandot is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) to a libretto in Italian by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni.

The original text

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.

World premiere: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 1926.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1965: Presented by the University of Cape Town Opera Company in the Cape Town City Hall, conducted by David Tidboald (June).

1968: Presented by CAPAB Opera in collaboration with UCT.

1974: Presented by CAPAB Opera.

1975: Presented by NAPAC Opera, with Nellie du Toit as Liù and Gé Korsten as Calaf, produced by Enayat Rezai, conducted by Franco Ferraris.

1978: Presented by PACOFS Opera.

1987: Presented by CAPAB Opera (14–29 October)

1994: Presented by CAPAB Opera (17 September – 7 October)

1996: Presented by CAPAB Opera (6–12 November)


Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

'Turandot'. The Metropolitan Opera. https://www.metopera.org/season/2023-24-season/turandot/

Sjoerd Alkema. 2012. "Conductors of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra, 1914-1965: a historical perspective". University of Cape Town. Unpublished PhD thesis.

Alexandra Xenia Sabina Mossolow. 2003. The career of South African soprano Nellie du Toit, born 1929. Unpublished Masters thesis. University of Stellenbosch.

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