Opera's leading dramatic soprano Nina Stemme sings the title role of the proud princess of ancient China, whose riddles doom every suitor who seeks her hand. Tenor Marco Berti is Calàf, who sings "Nessun dorma" and wins her love. Franco Zeffirelli's spectacular production, also starring soprano Anita Hartig, is conducted by Paolo Carignani.
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.
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