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Turandot in Beijing. Fast reading. What is Turandot?

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Turandot in Beijing


Fast reading

  • What is Turandot?

It is an opera that tells the story of a cold-hearted Chinese princess, named Turandot, who lives in the Forbidden City. To avoid marriage, she says that any potential husband must answer three riddles correctly or die.

  • Who wrote Turandot?

Giacomo Puccini wrote the opera. The final scene was completed by Franco Alfano, one of his students, based on Puccini’s notes after he died.

  • Was the performance indoors or outdoors?

It was performed outdoors.


Reading strategy:

reading a review of an opera

What should we pay attention to while reading a review of an opera?

A review of opera usually starts with some background information.

The review can give some important information such as the actor’s names and finally an evaluation.

The review may include lots of very descriptive words that reflect feelings.


The structure of the passage


Part I:

Some background information


Part II:

The summary of the story

Part III:


Some other information

Part IV:


The writer’s evaluation


Detailed reading

1.How many performances of Turandot were performed in the Forbidden City in Beijing?

2.Who wrote Turandot?


Giacomo Puccini wrote the opera. The final scene was completed by Franco Alfano, one of his students, based on Puccini’s notes after he died.

Part I


Main characters:




Turandot---- a Chinese princess

Calaf----a prince

Liu --- Calaf’s father’s young slave

Beijing’s Forbidden City

The story takes on the classic love triangle of the three main characters Turandot, Calaf and Liu. Liu loves Calaf, but Calaf has fallen in love with Turandot.Turandot doesn’t want to get married, and she declares that whoever wants to marry her must answer her three riddles. If the one can’t answer them correctly , he will be killed.

Liu dies for Calaf. Calaf kisses Turandot and wins her affection.

Part II




Actors and actresses:

Part III

Zhang Yimou

Zubin Metha, an internationally famous conductor born in India

Sharon Sweet--- Turandot

Barbara Hendricks --- Liu

Kristjan Johannson ---- Calaf


What is the writer’s evaluation of the performance?

Why does the writer think that the Forbidden City is a good setting for Turandot?

splendid, amazing

Because she felt that she could almost feel the history.

Part IV


Dear David,

Last night, I went to the opera for the first time. I was so excited. I went to see a ______________ of the opera Turandot. Music _______ from many different countries were cast. They were fantastic. The performance left me breathless with excitement. The setting for the story is _______ and the stage was decorated in red and _____. It all looked really authentic. All of the actors sang in fluent Italian, but I don’t know the language so I needed to read a translation in order to follow the story. The plot is about a Chinese ________ called Turandot, who sets ________ that ____________ husbands have to









guess the answers to correctly if they want to ________ her. If they guess wrong, they will be condemned to death. People say that any opera production has to have certain key components in order to be successful. I think for the production I saw, the key component was the superb_______. Now I think I’ll buy the DVD because it was so wonderful! I think everyone there _________ a very special event.

Write and tell me all of your news. Look forward to hearing from you soon.






1.a potential husband 可能的

2.imagine doing 想象做某事

3.fall in love (with sb.) 坠入爱河 a moving solo performance


5.take on 具有(特征)

6.a classic love triangle 一种经典三角恋情 drunk with sth. 醉心于…

8.exercise control over sb.


9.break one’s promise 食言

slide12 sunrise 在太阳升起之前 desperate to do 不顾一切地做… sb’s affection 赢得了某人的爱情

13.leave one’s future in sb’s hands


14.finish with sth. = end with sth.

15.fall silent 陷入沉默

16.stage the opera 将京剧搬上舞台 transformed into = be changed into


1.There could not be a better setting.

2.The emperor finds the deaths of so many men disturbing , and although he would like to, he can’t break his promise.

3.[Seeing this], Calaf says that if she can guess his name by sunrise, she does not have to marry him.

4.Then Calaf says his own name aloud, [leaving his future in Turandot’s hands].


5.The opera finishes with a beautifully-sung final duet, (which was so moving that the audience fell silent).

6.Unfortunately, Puccini died before he completed this final scene.

7.The Forbidden City is an area (where once only the emperor , his family and officials were allowed.)

8.The bringing together of this group of people from many countries, the music , and the setting are clearly the key components of this amazing production.