One of opera’s most thrilling dramatic sopranos, Christine Goerke, reprise her fierce portrayal of the title princess. Yannick Nézet-Séguin takes the podium to conduct Franco Zeffirelli’s dazzling production of Puccini’s final masterpiece.
Giacomo 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.
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 mythic realm viewed from the exoticizing perspective of 20th-century Europeans.
USA 2019, 223 min incl two intermissions, rated PG (scenes may disturb)
Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Set Design/Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Starring Christine Goerke, Yusif Eyvazov, Eleonora Buratto, James Morris & Carlo Bosi