Little-known forerunner of «Turandot» of Giacomo Puccini – «Turanda» of Antonio Bazzini

  • Yu Wang Postgraduate Student, Lviv National Music Academy named after Mykola Lysenko, Lviv (Ukraine)
Keywords: Turandot, Antonio Bazzini, romantic exoticism, lyrical opera, eclecticism, orientalism, imagology.


Тhe image of Turandot that has almost the greatest number of interpretations in a variety of genres, particularly, in opera, ushered in the masterpiece of G. Puccini. Still, rather little-known remain over ten of her opera forerunners among which a special place belongs to the opera of the king of verismo – the well-known violin virtuoso, composer, social-cultural figure, professor of Milano conservatoire Antonio Bazzini, in whose class G. Puccini was a student. His only opera ―Turanda‖ of 1867 became the subject of the study in this article whose objective is to outline the imagologeme of the cruel princess character in the interpretation of A. Bazzini.
Using the imagologic methodologies oriented toward all-round outlining of the Other – particularly in the context of the oriental themes, the author proceeds from the comparative analysis that gives ground for determination of the common and distinctive traits in the interpretation of the heroine character in the context of the Italian and general European cultural paradigm. Created almost 100 years after Carlo Gozzi’s fiaba and 50 years before G. Puccini’s ―Turandot‖ A. Bazzini finds new unexpected dimensions of the work on such theme in the opera genre. Departing from the elements of commedia dell’arte that are the cornerstones in Gozzi’s favola, Bazzini, though staying in the sphere of the fairytale plot defines the genre of his opera as the ―Asian fantasy‖, gravitating despite the decorative-harem and state-imperial image of the Orient to the principles of the lyrical opera French models and looking at the lyrical drama of V. Bellini. The main lady character is the type of the femme fatale, who in the course of unwinding of the dramatic action acquires some sentimental traits, reinvents herself from the princess-killer to the loving lady. Bazzini’s eclecticism was manifested in the departure from the Chinese content and extension of the geocultural boundaries: the action takes place in Persia (Turandot’s ancestral homeland, whose combined prototype image is described in the poem of Nizami ―Seven Beauties‖), Prince Calaf becomes the Indian Prince Nadir, preserving the role of the lyrical-dramatic hero. Bazzinin refuses from the masks and instead brings in the new bright character – magician Ormut who represents the evil forces, for he is hopelessly in love with Turandot, inspires her to killings with the aid of sorcery. The exalted mystical-orgiastic scene of worshipping Ahriman is one of the best in the presentation of the spectacular-theatrical exotica. And though over a dozen of composers-romanticists attempted to adapt the character of Turandot, the heroine found her optimal embodiment in the aura of the high verism, one of the steps on the way to which can be regarded ―Turanda‖ of A. Bazzini.


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How to Cite
Wang, Y. (2019). Little-known forerunner of «Turandot» of Giacomo Puccini – «Turanda» of Antonio Bazzini. Scientific Collections of the Lviv National Music Academy Named After MV Lysenko, (45), 290-308. Retrieved from