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Puccini's Turandot was a fable about China

 
 
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 12:05 am
I was attracted to Nessun Dorma after discovering Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent and then Paul Potts winning the competition because of the aria. Somehow the song touched me even though I had no idea what he was singing about as it was all in Italian. I chased down the lyrics and discovered a picture of a lady in a strange exotic headware as a frontispiece accompanying one of the tenors. Then I found Mario Del Monaco singing Nessun Dorma in a stage with a dragon painted on a huge panel. That was strange. There was even a Muslim Ihsan Ekber tenor from Turkey singing Nessun Dorma. Along with Ekber there was a youtube video of a Chinese tenor Yu Qiang Dai singing Nessun Dorma. That was really strange. So I checked what Turandot was really about and who that princess was. It was not a European princess nor an Arab princess as my initial impression was that it smacked of the Arabian Nights with all those riddles. In fact, Turandot was name of the Chinese princess and Calaf was a Tartar or Mongol and Timurlane was the old man in this Opera. Historically, Timur http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timur was a cruel man and slaughtered many people in his conquests and conquerded Persia. The Mongols were driven out of China as they created a class system with the Mongols as aristocrats. The Mongols have ever since hated the Chinese. So I can now see how this fable from Persia has twisted things around to show Chinese as cruel. Timurlane's descendant Babur founded the Mughal Empire in India. Mughal is Persian for Mongol.
Yu Qiang Dai sings Nessun Dorma in a Lucinao Pavarotti directed Turandot:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timur
The scene is more realistic of a Chinese Court.
Yu Qiang Dai is a product of a Communist system where they pick out a young promising teenage singer to bring Opera to China given training by the best teachers. What better Opera to use than Turandot as it is about China and Giacomo Puccini is one of Italy's foremost composers with Nessun Dorma one of world's great arias?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 3,752 • Replies: 8
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talk72000
 
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Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 12:22 am
Yu Qiang Dai youtube video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ltje-_XZA2Y
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Shapeless
 
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Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 12:52 am
The "Eastern" legend of Turandot went through quite a lot of Western filters by the time it became the basis of Puccini's opera. The opera's libretto, by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, was adapted from Andrea Maffei's Italian translation of a play by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, which was itself an adaptation of a play by Italian playwright Carlo Gozzi.
talk72000
 
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Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 10:36 pm
@Shapeless,
Thank you. Yes, I did check that out with Wikipedia but I didn't want to include it. I have not read of any historical record of any Chinese princess making such a studendous idiotic demand for a husband. It is just hatred that the Mongols who would create such a myth as China never invaded another country nor slaughter en masse citizens the way the Mongols did in conquering the world.
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talk72000
 
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Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 11:29 pm
History of China
http://www.sdopera.com/Operapaedia/Turandot#TANG
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teethstraight
 
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Reply Tue 4 Aug, 2009 11:22 am
@talk72000,
No, you're wrong about Yu Qiang dai and the communist system. Yu Qiang Dai was a civil engineer before he became a singer, he began to learn opera after he was 30 years old. He was found out by an American agent when he was 40 years old, which means he made his US debut after he's 40 (pretty old for an entry-level tenor).
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Aug, 2009 12:44 am
@teethstraight,
I hope you are right as the fellow who posted the video makes mention of the fact that he had the best teachers. Of course, I didn't check him out as I just happen to like this aria. Most of them put me to sleep. Three things surprised me about Nessun Dorma. 1 It is about China. 2 There is actually a Chinese tenor - at first I thought he was as it was played by the Japanese and Koreanteams in Winter Olympics in Korea. 3 The fable is nonsense but the Opera is fabulous.
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talk72000
 
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Reply Wed 5 Aug, 2009 02:17 am
@teethstraight,
Washington Post has an article on him.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/26/AR2009062602164.html

He started singing since 18 although it was in Chinese. He was singing in the People's Liberation Army. At first I thought he was Korean.
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talk72000
 
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Reply Mon 17 Aug, 2009 02:43 am
Yu Qiang Dai is not doing Opera in China any good as he refuses to learn Italian. If he is teaching young Chinese opera singers they will follow in his foot steps and merely ape the words. They should have an Opera run by Italians to teach the language and customs so future opera fans can truly enjoy the real thing not a facsimile. If Yu Qiang Dai is wrong there is no one to correct him and the error will be perpetuated. Did anyone hear a Hong Kong resident speak English? Hong Kong students are taught English by Chinese teachers who have never set foot outside of Hong Kong and they pass their accents to their students. You can identify a Hong Kong student a mile away with his/her accent.
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