• Turandot Educator Guide

What to Expect from Turandot

Start with a fairy-tale Chinese empire in ancient times. Add a beautiful, ice-hearted princess determined never to marry. Mix in a hero sworn to win her, or die trying. Add choruses big enough to crowd even the vast stage of the Metropolitan Opera and sumptuously melodic yet strikingly modern music. That’s the recipe for Turandot, Giacomo Puccini’s final, unfinished masterpiece.

Franco Zeffirelli’s breathtaking production features colorful dances, moonlit nights, sweeping pagodas, severed heads on pikes, and a throne room of silver and gold to create the setting for this Western vision of an imaginary Asian empire. If ever a grand opera has deserved the name, this is it.

  • Classroom Activity

    A full-length activity, designed to support your ongoing curriculum.
  • Musical Highlights

    Five "Musical Highlights" designed to focus on bits of music from Turandot to cultivate familiarity with the work.
  • Performance Activities

    Performance Activities for students to enjoy during the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission.
  • Post-Show Discussion

    A post-transmission activity, integrating the Live in HD experience into students' wider views of the performing arts and humanities.

Turandot at the Met

Yet Turandot is more than that—it’s an emotional storm swirling around a femme fatale as magnetic as she is ruthless. It’s the mind game of two implacable warriors, and it leads to collateral damage so shocking that Puccini himself struggled with the moral consequences. In the Met’s Live in HD presentation, Ukrainian soprano Maria Guleghina takes on the demanding title role, opposite Italian tenor Marcello Giordani as Calàf. They are joined by Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya as the innocent young slave girl Liù and veteran American bass Samuel Ramey as Timur.

First performed in 1926, Turandot entered a cultural world already familiar with the works of Gertrude Stein, Buster Keaton, Picasso, and Stravinsky. Puccini offered his audience a score both opulent and contemporary.

The shorter activities in this guide can help students appreciate the composer’s craft and his musical language. The guide’s full-length Classroom Activity takes a 21st-century perspective on the courage—or foolhardiness—that drives the tale. By introducing young people to Turandot and the characters who populate it, the guide can help build excitement about the Met’s Live in HD production.

The synopsis can be found here.