Opera composers

Top ten operas

Find opera/composer



Other operas based on the play Turandot by Gozzi:

Turandot - Ferruccio Busoni

Turandot - Giacomo Puccini

Information about the opera Turandot by Giacomo Puccini, and the best recordings available on CD or DVD, or for download.

Puccini's last opera, which he left unfinished after his death. Most performances include a final aria completed by Franco Alfano, although the 2002 Salzburg festival premiered a new ending by Luciano Berio.


The opera tells the story of Turandot, the heartless princess of Peking who has offered her hand to the suitor who can solve three riddles, the price for failure being death.

Calaf, a banished prince travelling secretly in Turandot's kingdom with his father and devoted slave girl Liù, arrives as a failed suitor is being executed. He falls in love with Turandot, and is determined to accept the challenge.

Calaf succeeds in answering her riddles, but on realising that she has been beaten Turandot tries to escape from the promise. Calif magnanimously says he will release her if she can guess his name by daybreak. In desperation she tortures Liù to try and find the answer, but Liù kills herself rather than betray her master.

Finally Calaf kisses her and tells her his name, putting his life in her hands, but she finally admits that he has succeeded in winning her love.

Recommended recordings on CD

Mehta/Sutherland/Pavarotti (Decca 414 274-2)

414 274-2

A passionate version, well recorded.

Wandsworth School Boys Choir, John Alldis Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, 1972.

Cast: Dame Joan Sutherland (Princess Turandot), Luciano Pavarotti (Calaf), Montserrat Caballé (Liù), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Timur).

Decca 414 274-2

Buy as download:

Also included in the boxed set:
Puccini: Pavarotti

Erede/Borkh/Monaco (Decca 452 964-2)

452 964-2

Superb singing, slightly let down by poor conducting. Also available as an MP3 download on CMM598.

Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus, Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra, conducted by Alberto Erede, 1955.

Cast: Inge Borkh (Princess Turandot), Mario Del Monaco (Calaf), Renata Tebaldi (Liù), Nicola Zaccaria (Timur).

Decca 452 964-2

Also included in the boxed set:
Tebaldi: Classic Puccini Recordings

Serafin/Callas/Fernandi (Naxos Historical 8.111334-35)


Callas is superb as the princess in this classic studio recording, remastered from EMI's original LPs.

Milan La Scala Orchestra, Milan La Scala Chorus, conducted by Tullio Serafin, 1957.

Cast: Maria Callas (Princess Turandot), Eugenio Fernandi (Calaf), Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Liù), Nicola Zaccaria (Timur).

Naxos Historical 8.111334-35 (mono)

Recommended recordings on DVD

Mehta/Guleghina/Berti (C Major 700308)


An excellent production.

Conducted by Zubin Mehta, 2008.

Cast: Maria Guleghina (Princess Turandot), Marco Berti (Calaf), Alexia Voulgaridou (Liù), Alexander Tsymbalyuk (Timur).

C Major 700308

Buy on DVD: