An icy, beautiful princess so desirable that men came by the hundreds to vie for her love.
Performed in Italian with projected English translations.
Opera preview hosted by Maestro Salesky begins 45 minutes prior to each performance
Desired by all men but wanting none, China’s cold-blooded Princess Turandot has built a wall of riddles around her heart.
Certainly the finest opera never completed, Turandot was bereft of its final scene due to Puccini’s untimely death. While it took a mere mortal to finish what this genius composer had started, Turandot remains among the top of the operatic pantheon to this day. Its ravishing score bursts with brilliant choruses and fiendishly difficult arias, including “Nessun dorma,” which Luciano Pavarotti elevated to iconic status. The opera’s music and majesty will be crowned by four sensational artists.
Meet the Director
John Hoomes (Stage Director)
Knoxville Opera is delighted to welcome John Hoomes. Mr. Hoomes has been the artistic director of Nashville Opera since 1995. Also a freelance stage director, he has directed over 150 productions of opera and music theatre in the US, South America, and Canada. The New York Times declared his Nashville Opera world premiere of Elmer Gantry “An Operatic Miracle…in Nashville.” A June 2010 Opera News feature article acknowledged, “Hoomes has proved himself one of the most interesting stage directors in the regional market today with a seemingly limitless knowledge of repertoire.”
Since receiving his masters degree at Indiana University, Mr. Hoomes has worked for many professional opera companies including Opera Lyra Ottawa, Teatro Colón, Cincinnati Opera, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Philadelphia, Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Opera Columbus.
Mr. Hoomes has directed, among numerous other productions, Salome, Rigoletto, Tosca, The Pearl Fishers, La Bohème, Carmen, and Der Rosenkavalier for Nashville Opera; Madama Butterfly and Carmen for Kentucky Opera; Die Fledermaus and Susannah for Indianapolis Opera; The Marriage of Figaro, Rigoletto, and La Bohème for Opera Carolina; Don Giovanni, Elmer Gantry, and Salome for Florentine Opera; Don Giovanni for Opera Cleveland; Ernani and Jenufa for Sarasota Opera; and Turandot for The Opera Festival of New Jersey, Nashville Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera Memphis, and Opera Carolina.
Recently Mr. Hoomes staged the world premieres of Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, which was recorded on Naxos Records, and songwriter Marcus Hummon’s chamber opera Surrender Road at Martha Rivers Ingram Hall in Nashville. He also directed the Southeastern professional premiere of two contemporary pieces, Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse. In fall 2009 Mr. Hoomes directed the Tennessee premiere of The Fall of the House of Usher by composer Philip Glass, a groundbreaking multi-media production, critically acclaimed both by the Wall Street Journal and Opera News.
Meet the Cast
Othalie Graham (Turandot)
Birthplace: Brampton, Ontario
Foreign Opera Companies: Edmonton Opera, Teatro di San Carlo (Naples), Teatro Greco di Siracusa (Sicily), Teatro Cervantes de Málaga, Opera de Nuevo León (Mexico), Gran Teatro Nacional del Perú (Lima)
Foreign Orchestras and Festivals: Simfonijski Orkestar HRT-a (Croatia), Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa, Orquesta Filhamónica de la UNAM (Mexico), Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, Lima Symphony, Oakville Symphony (Canada); Istanbul International Opera Festival
U.S. Opera Companies: Nashville Opera, Opera Carolina, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera, Sacramento Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera Delaware, Utah Festival Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, Pensacola Opera, Toledo Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Opera Roanoke, El Paso Opera, Chorus Pro Musica (Boston)
U.S. Orchestras: Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Westfield Symphony Orchestra, Harrisburg Symphony, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Orchestra
Jonathan Burton (Calàf)
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Ohio
Foreign Opera Companies: Welsh National Opera, Royal Opera Muscat (Oman), Dubai Opera
Foreign Orchestras: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Teatro la Fenice (Venice), Sinfonica de Galicia (Spain), Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra
U.S. Opera Companies: Nashville Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Knoxville Opera (Il Trovatore, Tosca), Sarasota Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Colorado, Boston Lyric Opera, Austin Opera, Tulsa Opera, Utah Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Shreveport Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Phoenix Metro Opera, Opera New Jersey, Dayton Opera, Opera Omaha, Des Moines Metro Opera, Annapolis Opera, Central City Opera, Lyric Opera Virginia, Opera Naples, Opera on the James, Opera Steamboat
U.S. Orchestras and Festival: Kentucky Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Lexington Symphony, Southern Ohio Symphony; Castleton Festival
Yunnie Park (Liù)
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea
U.S. Opera Companies: Wichita Grand Opera, Opera on the James, Opera in the Heights, Martha Cardona Opera (NY), University of Arizona Opera Theatre, Southern Arizona Opera, University of Northern Iowa
U.S. Orchestra and Festival: Wichita Symphony, Caramoor Festival (NY)
Richard Zuch (Timur)
Birthplace: North Tonawanda, NY
Foreign Orchestra and Festival: Bremer Dom Chor Kammerorchester; Verbier Music Festival (Switzerland)
U.S. Opera Companies: Utah Festival Opera, Opera Delaware, Winter Opera of St. Louis, St. Petersburg Opera (FL)
U.S. Orchestras and Festival: Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, Harrisburg Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, New Jersey State Opera Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Main Line Symphony, Pennsylvania Symphonia, Haddonfield Symphony, Metro Chamber Orchestra, Hilton Head Orchestra, Berkshire Choral Festival
Andrew Skoog (Pong)
Birthplace: Jonesboro, Arkansas
Foreign Orchestra: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (Norway)
U.S. Opera Companies: Dallas Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Knoxville Opera (Turandot), Longview Opera, Lyric Opera of San Antonio
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: American Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Apollo String Ensemble, Arkansas Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Durham Symphony, East Texas Symphony Orchestra, Johnson City Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Modesto Symphony Orchestra Northeast Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Oak Ridge Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Shreveport Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Valley Symphony, Victoria Symphony; OK Mozart International Festival, Tulsa Ballet, Dallas Opera Project
Brandon Hendrickson (Ping)
Birthplace: Atlantic, Iowa
U.S. Opera Companies: Dallas Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Charleston, Pensacola Opera, Opéra Louisiane
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: National Philharmonic, New England Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Helena Symphony Orchestra, Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, Southeast Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Sinfonietta; Duke Chapel Bach Series, Piccolo Spoleto Festival
Harry House (Emperor)
Birthplace: Brunswick, Georgia
U.S. Opera Companies: Knoxville Opera (Carmen, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, La Fanciulla del West, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Magic Flute, Manon, Le Nozze di Figaro, Rigoletto, Susannah, Tosca), Southeastern Savoyards
U.S. Orchestras: Knoxville Symphony, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, Oak Ridge Symphony, MACO Civic Orchestra, Johnson City Symphony
Act 1: The Imperial Palace, Peking, China, Ancient times
A Mandarin announces that if any prince seeking to marry the Princess Turandot cannot answer three riddles, he will die. The Prince of Persia has failed the challenge and is to be beheaded that night. The imperial guards knock an old blind man to the ground. His slave-girl, Liù, cries out for help. A young man recognizes that the blind man is his long-lost father, Timur, the deposed King of Tartary. The young Prince of Tartary is overjoyed, but urges Timur to not speak his name, Calàf, because he is afraid that the Chinese rulers might harm them. Timur tells his son that only Liù has remained faithful to him. When Calàf asks her why, she tells him that he had once smiled at her long ago.
While being led to his execution, the doomed Prince of Persia pleads for mercy. Turandot appears and orders the execution to continue. Calàf, who has never seen Turandot before, falls in love with her. Out of sight, the Prince of Persia is beheaded. Calàf is about to demand the riddles when the ministers Ping, Pang, and Pong appear. They urge him to not lose his head for Turandot and to return to his country. Timur and Liù also urge Calàf to desist. Liù’s words touch Calàf’s heart and he begs her to not abandon his father if he fails. Calàf calls out Turandot’s name and strikes the gong, declaring himself to be a suitor. Turandot accepts his challenge as the ministers ridicule the Prince.
Act 2; Sc. 1: A pavilion in the Palace later that night
The ministers lament their position and prepare themselves for either a wedding or a funeral. Ping longs for his country house in Honan, Pong remembers his grove of forests near Tsiang, and Pang recalls his gardens near Kiu. When the palace trumpets sound, the ministers ready themselves for the ensuing spectacle.
Act 2; Sc. 2: The courtyard of the Palace at sunrise
The aged Emperor Altoum, Turandot’s father, vainly asks the Prince to reconsider. Turandot enters and explains that Princess Lo-u-Ling, her ancestor of millennia past, reigned over her kingdom in silence and joy. She resisted the harsh domination of men until she was ravished and murdered by an invading foreign prince. Turandot claims that Lo-u-Ling now lives in her, and out of revenge, Turandot has sworn to never wed. She warns the Prince to withdraw but again he refuses. The Princess presents her riddles and the crowd cheers as the Prince answers all three correctly. Turandot begs the Emperor not to leave her to the Prince’s mercy. However, he insists that it is Turandot’s duty to wed him. She cries out in despair and the Prince responds with a riddle of his own: “Tell me my name before sunrise, and at dawn, I will die.”
Act 3; Sc. 1: The Palace gardens that night
Turandot has command that none shall sleep in Peking as she seeks the name of the unknown prince. Calàf waits for dawn and anticipates his victory. The ministers offer him women and riches if he will only give up Turandot, but he refuses. A group of soldiers drag in Timur and Liù. Turandot orders them to divulge the Prince’s name. When the guards begin to torture them, Liù declares that she alone knows his name. When she refuses to reveal it, Turandot is impressed by Liù’s resolve and asks her what gave her such courage. Liù answers, “Love!” Despite the threat of continued torture, Liù tells Turandot that she too will learn the joy of being guided by love. Liù seizes a dagger and stabs herself to death. Left alone, the Prince reproaches Turandot for her cruelty and takes her in his arms. At first she is defiant, but his kiss awakens her passion. She pleads with him to leave, taking the mystery of his name with him. The Prince, however, reveals his name to the princess, thereby placing his life in her hands.
Act 3; Sc. 2: The courtyard of the Palace at dawn
Turandot and Calàf approach the Emperor’s throne. She declares that she knows the Prince’s name: “It is love!” The crowd cheers and hails the power of love and life.