• Find us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on Instagram
  • View Our YouTube Channel
  • Listen on Spotify
  • View our scores on nkoda

Christopher Tin, commissioned by Washington National Opera, has composed a new ending to Giacomo Puccini's unfinished masterpiece Turandot. The new ending debuts in May at the Kennedy Center, marking the 100th anniversary of Puccini’s death.

The Washington National Opera (WNO) presents a new production of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot with a new ending by two-time GRAMMY Award winner Christopher Tin (composer) and Emmy Award winner Susan Soon He Stanton (librettist). WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello directs the new production, which marks the 100th anniversary of Puccini’s death. Italian conductor Speranza Scappucci leads the WNO Orchestra.

> May 11-25: Puccini / Tin, Turandot at Washington National Opera

“As an Italian American and an opera director, I love Puccini’s work,” said Zambello. “But Turandot, which traces its origin to Persian folklore, contains stereotypes about China and women that Alfano’s hastily assembled ending only reinforced. The fact that Puccini did not live to finish it gives us an opportunity to reconsider this incredible character. For this production, I have commissioned a new ending by two incredible Asian American artists who are providing fresh perspectives to this beloved work.”

Tin, the first composer to win a GRAMMY Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media (“Baba Yetu”), and Stanton, producer and writer of Succession, created this new ending from where Puccini left off when he died before completing the opera—after Liù’s suicide when Turandot and Calaf are left alone on the stage. “As a playwright, I always like to explore the inner feeling of a character,” said Stanton. “The scene that proceeds after Liù’s death is the first time Turandot and Calaf are alone together. It allows them to express their complicated emotions. For me, it is important to elaborate on their psychological transformations so to reach a more logical resolution of the end.”

“What excites me about this project is that this is a chance to fulfill Puccini’s vision in the way he would have wanted,” said Tin. “Alfano’s ending has always felt incomplete because it doesn’t address the plot in a satisfactory way and even paints Princess Turandot in an unflattering light. In this new ending, we hope to create a three-dimensional Turandot whose transformation from selfish sadist to an empathetic leader and lover is not only believable but inspiring, and perhaps even sparks a dialogue about the nature of leadership in today’s society.”

Zambello’s production situates China as a cultural crossroads—much as it was at the height of the Silk Road—in which people were arriving from many different places and cultures. That multiculturism is reflected in the costumes designed by Tony Award winner Linda Cho. The set by Drama Desk Award nominee Wilson Chin consists of monumental scaffolding that invokes authoritative regimes of the 20th century.

“Debuting a title like Turandot at the Kennedy Center is a great honor for me, especially in Puccini’s anniversary year 2024,” said Speranza Scappucci. “This production will include the world premiere of a new ending composed by Christopher Tin and libretto by Susan Stanton. As I study the new music, I admire Mr. Tin’s ability to offer new material in the style of Puccini, so that musically the ending feels like a natural continuation of what we have heard during the previous acts.”

In the title role is Polish soprano Ewa Plonka, praised for her “brilliant high notes of her high-class voice” by Das Opernglas. The “gifted tenor” (The New York Times) Yonghoon Lee performs the role of Calaf. Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha makes her American operatic debut performing as Liù. In a rare stage appearance, legendary tenor Neil Shicoff makes a cameo as Emperor Altoum.

Performance Information
Saturday, May 11 at 7pm ET
Monday, May 13 at 7pm ET
Friday, May 17 at 7:30pm ET
Sunday, May 19 at 2pm ET
Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30pm ET
Friday, May 24 at 7:30pm ET
Saturday, May 25 at 7pm ET

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Opera House | Washington, D.C.
More info here

Music by Giacomo Puccini and Christopher Tin
Libretto in Italian by Giuseppe Adami, Renato Simoni, and Susan Soon He Stanton

>  Further information on Work: Turandot

Photo: Courtesy of WNO

>  News Search

Stay updated on the latest composer news and publications