Preview | GP at the Met: Turandot - About the Opera

Premieres nationwide Friday, March 20 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)


Season 14 of Great Performances at the Met comes to primetime Friday, March 20 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with Franco Zeffirelli’s dazzling production of Puccini’s Turandot. Soprano Christine Goerke stars as the beautiful but brutal Princess Turandot alongside tenor Yusif Eyvazov as her suitor Calàf. Soprano Eleonora Buratto as Liù and bass-baritone James Morris as Timur complete the cast. Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts and soprano Angel Blue—star of the Met’s current production of Porgy and Bess—is the program’s host.

Zeffirelli’s production of Puccini’s masterpiece is set in the mythic past in Peking, China. Outside the Imperial Palace, an announcement is made: any prince seeking to marry Turandot must answer three riddles. If he fails, he will die. The most recent suitor who failed at this task, the Prince of Persia, will be executed at the moon’s rising. Among the onlookers are the slave girl, Liù, her elderly master and the young Calàf, who recognizes the master as his long-lost father, Timur, vanquished king of Tartary. As the Prince of Persia goes to his death, the crowd calls upon the princess to spare him, but Turandot orders the execution to continue. Transfixed by the princess’ beauty, Calàf decides he’s going to win her. Three ministers of state try to discourage him, but Calàf is unmoved and strikes the gong that announces a new suitor.

Turandot’s father, Emperor Altoum, tries to persuade Calàf to reconsider his decision, but he will not be dissuaded. Turandot arrives and recounts the story of her ancestor who was abducted and killed by a conquering prince. She reveals this has turned her against men and her revenge is not letting any man marry her. Turandot then poses her three riddles to Calàf who answers them all correctly. The crowd erupts in joy and the princess begs her father not to give her to the stranger. Hoping he can win her love, Calàf presents Turandot with a challenge of his own: if she can learn his name by dawn, he will forfeit his life.

Short Listing

Enjoy Puccini’s final opera starring soprano Christine Goerke. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

Long Listing

Enjoy Puccini’s famed final opera with this dazzling production from Franco Zeffirelli, set in China and starring soprano Christine Goerke in the title role. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

Notable Talent

  • Christine Goerke Turandot
  • Yusif Eyvazov – Calàf
  • Eleonora BurattoLiù
  • James Morris – Timur
  • Carlo Bosi – Emperor Altoum
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin – Conductor
  • Angel Blue – Host

Run time: 2.5 hours

Production Credits

  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin – Conductor
  • Franco Zeffirelli – Production
  • Gary Halvorson – Director
  • Franco Zeffirelli – Set Designer
  • Anna Anni & Dada Saligeri – Costume Designers
  • Gil Wechsler – Lighting Designer
  • Chiang Ching – Choreographer
  • Paula Suozzi – Revival Stage Director

For the Met, David Frost is Music Producer. Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.


Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. This Great Performances at the Met presentation is funded by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold and public television viewers.

Series Overview

Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, bringing the best of the Metropolitan Opera into the homes of classical music fans across the United States.

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About WNET Print

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.

About the Met Print

Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, The Metropolitan Opera is one of America’s leading performing arts organizations and a vibrant home for the world’s most creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers. The company presents more than 200 performances each season of a wide variety of operas, ranging from early masterpieces to contemporary works. In recent years, the Met has launched many initiatives designed to make opera more accessible, most prominently the Live in HD series of cinema transmissions, which dramatically expands the Met audience by allowing select performances to be seen in more than 2,200 theaters in more than 70 countries around the world.