Turandot: Synopsis, Character Map


Turandot: Summary

In China, Princess Turandot refused to marry and issued three difficult riddles to the man who proposed marriage to her. If the man fails to solve the riddles, he is executed.

Calaf, a foreign prince, is reunited with his father in Beijing. Calaf and his father have been forced to flee their country. Calaf’s father had arrived in China with the help of a slave, Liù.


Who are you? Why have you been so kind to my father?


I am a slave in your country. Because in the distant past, in the palace, you smiled at me.

Calaf falls in love at first sight with Turandot. He decides to try to solve the riddles.

Calaf succeeds in solving the riddles. She refuses to marry him.


Are you going to force me to marry you?


No, Princess. I want you, who are burning with love.

You have given me three riddles, I have solved them. I’ll give you one. You do not know my name.

You have until dawn to tell me my name. If you tell me my name, I will die.

Liù, who knows Calaf’s name, is tortured.


Oh, I can’t bear the torture. The icy princess will be melted by his fire. You will love him too.

Liù dies to keep Calaf’s name hidden. Calaf and Turandot are married.

Turandot: Character Map

Turandot: Character Map
Turandot: Character Map

Turandot: Roles

TurandotPrincess of Chinasoprano
CalafThe Unknown Princetenor
Liùa slave girlsoprano
TimurThe deposed King of Tartarybass
AltoumEmperor of Chinatenor
PingLord Chancellorbaritone
PongHead chef of the Imperial Kitchentenor
A MandarinChinese officialsbaritone
  • Native title: Turandot
  • Composers: Giacomo Puccini
  • Librettist: Giuseppe Adami, Renato Simoni
  • Based on: Turandot by Carlo Gozzi
  • Language: Italian
  • Premiere: April 25, 1926, La Scala, Milan
  • Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes (Act 1: 35 minutes, Act 2: 50 minutes, Act 3: 45 minutes)