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:
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?