An opera by Puccini
Once upon a time there was a princess. The princess was named Turandot. She was extremely beautiful. She had a romantic and kind heart. She was Chinese. Her father was the Emperor of China. But her father was cruel.
– “Turandot, you must get married immediately!” said her father.
– “But Father, I do not want to get married. Eventually, I will get married, but I do not want to be forced,” said Turandot.
– “Turandot, you must obey me!” said the Emperor.
– “Yes, Father,” said Turandot sadly.
The Emperor invited many princes to meet the princess. When the princes arrived, they saw Turandot’s beauty and they were impressed! But more importantly, the princes saw the riches of China. The palace was enormous! The prince who marries Turandot will be the future Emperor!
All the princes said, “Turandot, Turandot! Talk to me!” The princes competed for Turandot’s attention.
– “Turandot, come and talk to me!” said the Prince of Japan.
– “No, Turandot, come here!” said the Prince of Thailand.
– “No, Turandot, ignore them. Come and talk to me!” said the Prince of Persia.
The competition between the princes was intense! But the princes wanted the prestige of winning the competition. They were arrogant. They just wanted to win. They did not really love her.
Turandot was sad. She said to the Emperor, “Father, these princes are arrogant. They just want to win a competition. They do not love me, so I do not want to marry them,” said Turandot.
But her father insisted, “Choose a prince! I order you to marry!” The princes yelled “Choose me! Choose me!”
Turandot was sad. They did not love her. She hated the princes. Princess Turandot’s heart became cold.
– ”A competition ? The princes want a competition?” said Turandot with a cold, cruel voice.
– “Yes, yes!” said the arrogant princes.
– “Okay, if a prince answers three questions, I will marry him.”
– “Me! I will answer the questions. I’m very smart!” said the Prince of Japan.
– “No, I’m smarter!” said the Prince of Thailand.”
– “No, You are stupid. I am the smartest!” said the Prince of Persia.
Turandot hated the stupid competition and the arrogant princes. She said coldly, “But if you answer incorrectly, I will kill you.”
– “Kill us? That’s cruel!” said the princes.
– “My decision is final!” said Turandot. Her voice was cold.
The princes were all very scared. They went home. Turandot was happy!
One day, another prince arrived at the Emperor’s palace. His name was Prince Calaf. He traveled with his father. His father warned him, “Calaf, do not look at Princess Turandot. She is beautiful, but she has a cold, cruel heart. She has a terrible reputation. She executes the princes who answer incorrectly in a competition.”
At that moment, Turandot entered the room. Calaf instantly fell in love with the beautiful princess. He wanted to marry her. Calaf said, “Turandot, marry me. I will answer the questions.”
“I will kill you if you answer incorrectly,” said Turandot. “I don’t care. I will face any risk. I love you, princess,” said Calaf.
Calaf was determined. He would marry Princess Turandot. She was the most beautiful princess he had ever seen.
So Turandot asked question number 1: “What is cold like ice and hot like fire?”
Prince Calaf was different from the other princes. He was very intelligent. He thought for a minute. Then, he answered, “Love. Love is cold as your beautiful face, Princess. Love is also as warm as my heart.”
Turandot was amazed! A prince who has the correct answer? She had not imagined a prince would have the answer. Calaf had a romantic heart. Was it possible that Calaf loved her… with real love?
Turandot presented two more questions. “What is born each night and dies each dawn?”
Prince Calaf thought for a while and then replied, “Hope.” Turando was shocked. That was the correct answer!
Finally, she asked question number 3. “What is red and warm and moves like a flame, but is not fire?”
Calaf stroked his chin and thought very carefully. “Blood!” he replied. He was right!
Prince Calaf answered all three questions correctly. He won the competition. Finally, he could marry Turandot.
Turandot was very sad. Her father would force her to marry Calaf. She respected Calaf. He was smart, and he had a romantic heart. But Turandot was not in love, not real love. Turandot cried and cried.
Calaf noticed that Turandot was sad. He was sad, too. Turandot was the woman he loved and she was very important to him. He decided to make a sacrifice. He said, “Turandot, do not be sad. If you are sad, I am sad. If marrying me makes you cry, you do not have to marry me. I will not force you.”
Turandot was so touched! Turandot said to herself, “Calaf is sincere; he loves me. Winning a competition and prestige is not important to Calaf. Even the risk of execution is not important to Calaf. The important thing for Calaf is ME! He loves me…and it’s real love.”
Princess Turandot’s heart changed. It was kind again. She stopped crying and smiled. Finally, she found real love. Turandot found Calaf. Turandot and Calaf were married. And they were happy for the rest of their lives.