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Turandot with Chinese sequel to debut at Beijing in March
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The classic opera Turandot now has a Chinese ending, and it will make its world debut at the National Grand Theater (NGT) on March 21-26, in downtown Beijing.


Hao Weiya, a young Chinese composer, has added an 18-minute sequel to the three-act opera, the last work of the world-famous Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924).


In Hao's new version, the melody of the Original Remix appears at the climax of Turandot to show the change of Turandot's nature, while it comes at the beginning in Puccini's unfinished composition, according to the Chinese composer.


Hao was employed by the NGT to give a new final touch to the play.


Hao said that an aria entitled "The First Tear" was the most important part of the sequel, meaning a sentimental resurrection from the bottom of the title character's heart and a humanistic realization, which also shows the power of love.


"The First Tear" had its public premiere at the concert of "The Best Collection of the World Classic Operas" in the odeum of the NGT on Dec. 24.


The theatrical release of Turandot with the Chinese ending will add two new characters, Loulin Princess and Yuren, the former presenting Avenger while the latter will be China's Angel.


Director Chen Xinyi said that the two contrasting roles combined the spiritual core of Turandot. "We will let dancers act the roles with the purpose of making the heart of the heroine better understood by the audience."


The two roles would also better express the two themes of the opera, love and heroism, which Chen said he wanted to highlight.


Turandot, an ancient fable that originated in Persia but was set in China, tells of a princess so desirable that men came by the hundreds, from all over the world, and queued up to vie for her love. A suitor must answer three vexing riddles -- and anyone who failed wound up with his head on a stake, as a warning to all those still standing in line.


Puccini selected the melody of China's folk song Original Remix as one of the important musical themes of the opera, which tells a love story in ancient China. It was left unfinished at the second scene of the third act when Puccini died in 1924.


Hao is the third composer, and the first Chinese, who has tried to finish the opera. The previous two were Italians, Franco Alfano and Luciano Berio, who both studied after Puccini.


NGT is a new signature building for Beijing that cost 3 billion yuan (about 410 million U.S. dollars) for the main structure alone. The total cost is believed to be almost double. It stands next to the prestigious Great Hall of the People, the venue for national conferences.


(Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2008)

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