This month we are looking at famous music throughout history that was left unfinished by its composer. This week, we are specifically looking at the story behind Puccini’s Turandot, which was left unfinished at the time of Puccini’s death in 1924. Last time we learned that Puccini orchestrated Acts I and II before his death, however hadn’t quite achieved what he dreamed for the finale duet scene of Act III.
Following Puccini’s death as a result of a heart attack and throat cancer, Franco Alfano stepped up to complete the final scene of Turandot, doing his best to stay true to Puccini’s intentions for the opera. The project was overseen by Arturo Toscanini, who conducted the world premiere of the opera. During the first performance of Turandot, Toscanini left out Alfano’s finale and ended the opera where Puccini had left things at his death.
What do you think? Would you prefer Turandot to suddenly end unfinished where the composer left off at his point of death? Or would you prefer the story to wrap up using Alfano’s ending? You can listen here.