Cover

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Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

The authors of this book were seduced early in life by the "Great Tradition" of Italian opera in the form it took in William Weaver's Golden Century ... from Rossini to Puccini. For both of us the first encounter with Puccini's unfinished Turandot was the magnificent Cetra/Parlophone recording of 1937/38, with Gina Cigna, Francesco Merli, and Magda Olivero. ...

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Introduction: The Contexts

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pp. 3-11

Weaver's "Golden Century" is of course only the last of several centuries of Italian opera, the culminating phase of a continuous Great Tradition that began in mid-seventeenth century. So if indeed it is "Italian opera in general" that "ends here," Puccini's Turandot holds a remarkable position in the history of artistic genres. ...

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Chapter I: The Opera

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pp. 12-42

Opera is a compound, not an amalgam. For convenience, elements in the compound may be thought of as mined separately from the Aristotelian quarries of action, character, social and physical mise-en-scène, language, and music. When they co-occur in the theater, however, the elements do not retain all their separate and original properties; ...

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Chapter II: The Sources

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pp. 43-58

Carlo Gozzi (1720-1808) is chiefly remembered today as the original author of fantastic plays made into operas: Turandot; La donna serpente (Wagner's Die Feen); L'amore delle tre melarancie (Prokofiev's Lyubov k trem apel'-sinam), and Il re cervo (Henze's König Hirsch). ...

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Chapter III: The Genesis

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pp. 59-88

Not since Manon Lescaut had a Puccini opera a birth as tortuous as Turandot, nor such prolonged and circuitous questions about its basic structure. To follow the trail from Puccini's first favorable response to the subject, in his letter to Simoni of 18 March 1920, to his death on 29 November I92 with the crucial final scene still in drafts and sketches, ...

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Chapter IV: The Four Colors

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pp. 89-114

The first sounds heard in Turandot are what we have called the "Execution" motive: a ponderous fortissimo orchestral unison whose descending chromatic fourths—first diminished, then augmented—cadence into f# minor, the principal stable tonality of the opening number (I.A). ...

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Chapter V: The Two Duets

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pp. 115-140

In eighteenth-century opera seria the paradigmatic scene type was the solo aria, in which lyric verse was set in a formal and continuous musical texture, with much text repetition for musical extensions. Each aria would express an affect or a reaction, on the part of a single character, to preceding action and dialogue set in recitative verse and texture. ...

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Chapter VI: Turandot Staged

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pp. 141-164

Puccini's letters to his librettists reveal how often he imagined action in terms of quite detailed stage pictures. It is not surprising, therefore, to find him taking the initiative in consulting with scene designers and costumers. He was already concerned about the stage picture in early June 1921, while he was composing music for the two sets of the original long Act I. ...

Appendix

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pp. 165-168

Notes

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pp. 169-184

References

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pp. 185-188

Index

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pp. 189-193