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March 2021 Next



1. Act
The crowd gathered outside the gates of Beijing listens to the declaration of the Emperor's orders: the man who is able to solve three riddles shall win Princess Turandot's hand in marriage.He who fails shall lose his head. Calaf, a Tartar prince, who had to flee from his enemy-occupied country hears the statement. In the crowd he finds his father, King Timur, who is accompanied by his faithful slave girl Liu. Calaf is delighted by this meeting with his father. Preparations for the execution of a Persian prince, who was a candidate for the hand of Turandot, are under way. Princess Turandot arrives and Calaf, struck by her beauty, decides to take the test. Both Timur and Liu, and three royal ministers, fail to deter him. The gong strikes and he announces himself as a suitor for the princess.


2. Act
The ministers Ping, Pang and Pong are tired of the eternal executions of the Princess's suitors, whose number is constantly growing. And now another fool is putting himself forward. The crowd in front of the Imperial Palace watches as another suitor enters the fray. Even Emperor Altoum questions his intention, but the Prince insists. Turandot arrives, and she tells how long ago China was ruled by her grandmother Lou-Ling. She was kidnapped by the Khan of the Tartars, who attacked and looted the whole country and violated Lou-Ling. This is how Turandot took revenge against men and she therefore never wants to know what love is. Calaf solves the three riddles, but Turandot refuses to accept him as her husband. When the prince sees her resistance, he does not wish to use violence to assert his victory. He offers Turandot also the opportunity to guess - if by dawn she can guess his name, he promises to undergo death.


3. Act
Turandot sends troops into the streets of Beijing to find out the name of the unknown man. The Ministers offer the Prince great riches if he tells them who he is. The servants drag in Timur and Liu, in whose company the Prince was seen, and forced them to disclose his name. Turandot herself wants to know the answer and Liu, in order to save Timur from torture, claims that only she knows the Prince. Even torture does not cause her to reveal her secret. Finally, Liu rips a dagger from one of the guards and stabs him with it. The Prince accuses Turandot of cruelty. He tears off her veil, kisses her and whispers his name to her. Turandot asks him to appear with her before the people. Turandot reveals the solution to the the puzzle before the Emperor: the name of the unknown Prince is love.

Program and cast

Opera in three acts with the finale completed by Franco Alfano

Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni

Christian Thielemann, Conductor

Anna Netrebko, Turandot
Yusif Eyvazov, Calaf
Golda Schultz, Liù
Jürgen Sacher, Altoum
Alexander Tsymbalyuk, Timur
Hansung Yoo, Ping
Jinxu Xiahou, Pang
JunHo You, Pong
Dong-Hwan Lee, A Mandarin

Staatskapelle Dresden
Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno
Chorus master: Petr Fiala
Salzburg Bach Choir
Chorus master: Christiane Büttig
Salzburger Festspiele und Theater Kinderchor
Chorus master: Wolfgang Götz


Großes Festspielhaus

The plans for a Grosses Festspielhaus (Large Festival Hall), where the former archiepiscopal princely stables were located, were drawn up primarily by the architect Clemens Holzmeister; Herbert von Karajan also made many suggestions for the building project, in particular regarding the design of the theatre hall. Every effort was made and no expense spared so as to “insert” between the three-centuries-old façade of the former court stables and the Mönchsberg a theatre with an opera stage whose structure and technical equipment would still meet highest international demands after fifty years. Between autumn 1956 and the early summer of 1960, 55,000 cubic metres of rock were blasted away to create the relevant space. The building was largely financed from the state budget and as a result the Republic of Austria is the owner of the Grosses Festspielhaus.


The Grosses Festspielhaus was opened on 26 July 1960 with a festive ceremony and the performance of Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Even though the new stage was undoubtedly impressive in its dimensions, voices were raised even then expressing regret that it would hardly be suitable for staging operas by Mozart which require a more intimate setting. The ground plan of the auditorium is almost square, nearly 35 metres long and from the stalls as well as from the circle offers ideal acoustic conditions and sight-lines for 2,179 seats. The iron stage curtain weighs 34 tonnes and in the middle is one metre thick. The ground steel plates were created by Rudolf Hoflehner; the main curtain behind it was designed by Leo Wollner.


The décor for the concert hall was renewed in 1993 by Richard Peduzzi. Five bronze doors with handles designed by Toni Schneider-Manzell allow the public access from the Hofstallgasse. The façade is ornamented by a Latin inscription by the Benedictine monk Professor Thomas Michels (Order of St. Benedict):Sacra camenae domus concitis carmine patet quo nos attonitos numen ad auras ferat (The holy house of the muse is open for lovers of the arts, may divine power inspire us and raise us to the heights).


Mostly local materials were used for fitting out the Grosses Festspielhaus: the reinforced concrete columns in the entrance foyer were covered with the conglomerate rock removed from the wall of the Mönchsberg; the floor is made of Adnet marble. Low beam lighting in the sloping ceiling and panel dishes made of glass from Murano create a solid lighting design. Two sculptures created by Wander Bertoni in Carrara marble represent music and drama. The four large-scale paintings in the form of crosses on the theme Dreams with the Wrong Solutions, which were bought by the Austrian patron of the arts and collector Karlheinz Essl and made available on loan to the Salzburg Festival, are by the New York painter and sculptor Robert Longo (1993).


The interval hall adjoining the entrance foyer is largely based on the original ground plan of the archiepiscopal princely stables. The floor of green serpentine is new and contains mosaics of horses by Kurt Fischer. On the wall is a steel relief by Rudolf Hochlehner entitled Homage to Anton von Webern. Through the arch built by Fischer von Erlach one can look out onto the horse statue and fountain and the Schüttkasten which was acquired by the Salzburg Festival in 1987. A separate access on the left of the interval foyer leads via an escalator and steps to the underground car park for the old town centre of Salzburg.


The furnishings for a Patrons’ Lounge on the first floor of the Grosses Festspielhaus were financed by the American patrons of the arts Donald and Jeanne Kahn, who later became major sponsors of the Salzburg Festival. Since 1995 it has served as a reception area for patrons, sponsors as well as their guests and is also used for press conferences and various other functions in connection with the Salzburg Festival.


Specifications Grosses Festspielhaus

Stage width: 100 m Stage depth: 25 m

Proscenium width: 30 m

Proscenium height: 9 m

Five lifting podia, 18 x 3 m each; speed max. 0.25 m / sec.; loading capacity 20 tons each

Hydraulic stage machinery (double attachment of ABB)

Gridiron: 155 hoists with a loading capacity of 500 kg each, a third of them hydraulically driven and electronically controlled

Lighting: 825 adjustable electric circuits with a power of over 5000 watts each; digital light console; depot of around 2,000 individual lights

Electroacoustics: sound control board with 16 inputs, 16 main outputs and 4 auxiliary outputs; sockets for loudspeakers and microphones throughout the entire stage and auditorium.

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