The legendary production by Núria Espert that opened the Liceu after the 1994 fire

“Amor! O sole! Vita! Eternità!
Luce del mondo è amore!
Ride e canta nel sole
l’infinita nostra felicità!”

Turandot, end of act III  

Play Turandot


Despite the cruelty of its plot, Turandot has earned a pre-eminent place in the canon of the universal repertoire and also in the hearts of audiences around the world. With a brilliant and unprecedented score, Puccini portrays the soulless, cold and implacable princess pitted against the man determined to win her at all costs.  

The Liceu revives the production that re-opened the theatre after the catastrophic fire of 1994. Created by Núria Espert, the opera is set in the imperial city of Beijing, where Princess Turandot protects her virginity under an oath: she can only marry the man of royal blood who solves three riddles that she herself will dictate. Whoever fails will die. The rules and tyranny of a woman who is incapable of love, who refuses to become human, instead preferring to be an institution and who imposes a surveillance state in which men are sacrificed. 

A monumental, evocative and orientalist scenography with an extremely harsh and oppressive setting, full of beauty and formal balance, heighten the epic poetry of the story.  

Puccini was unable to finish the third act of the score. He died in 1924 in Brussels before he could finish the final duet and it was his assistant, Franco Alfano, who completed the score. The first performance of the piece at Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1926 was a kind of requiem for Puccini. Arturo Toscanini conducted the work until the last notes Puccini wrote and then lowered the baton saying: “This is the end of the master’s work. After that, he died.”  

Alfano’s ending has become the norm in opera houses all over the world, but it is precisely in this dramaturgical vagueness where Espert puts his seal: an unravelling based on the sublimity and rituals of the Chinese court where Turandot, after recognising that love dominates and weakens her, prefers to kill herself rather than flee abroad. Too many irreparable cracks inside her heart next to a prince with a hero’s thirst who dreams exclaiming “Vincerò” (I will be victorious). 

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Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. Last duo and final scene by Franco Alfano
World premiere: 25/4/1926 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan
Barcelona premiere: 30/12/1928 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Last Liceu performance: 25/10/2019
Total number of Liceu performances: 86  

  • Approximate running time 2h 40min

Artistic profile

Stage director
Núria Espert
This version
Bárbara Lluch
Set design
Ezio Frigerio (†)
Marco Berriel
Costume design
Franca Squarciapino
Vinicio Cheli
Gran Teatre del Liceu and Asociación Bilbaína de Amigos de la Ópera (ABAO)


26 and 29 November and 2, 4, 9, 11, 14 and 16 December
28 and 30 November and 3, 5, 10, 13 and 15 December
26 and 29 November and 2, 4, 9, 11, 14 and 16 December
28 and 30 November and 3, 5, 10, 13 and 15 December
6 and 29 November and 2, 4, 9, 11, 14 and 16 December
28 and 30 November and 3, 5, 10, 13 and 15 December
26 and 29 November and 2, 4, 9, 11, 14 and 16 December
8 and 30 November and 3, 5, 10, 13 and 15 December
26 i 29 de novembre i 2, 4, 9, 14 i 16 de desembre
28 and 30 November and 5, 10, 13 and 15 December
3 i 11 de desembre
Cor Infantil de l'Orfeó Català (Glòria Coma, conductor)
Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Pablo Assante, conductor)
Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Diego García Rodríguez (13, 14, 15 and 16 December)
Alondra de la Parra (26, 28, 29, 30 November and 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11 December)

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Liceu chronology

Consult the history of this title through the Annals of the Foundation of the Gran Teatre del Liceu: list of performances, casts, photographs, program booklets, curiosities...
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