Turandot [The Village] must be satisfied by being begged for marriage and having her pre-requisite riddles answered and never challenged or rebuked. She’s a bit bitchy. Go figure.This opera begins with a Mandarin (take your pick; might as well be Broder) delivering the law, the edict, and the result which demands that an unworthy Prince, who could not answer the Three Riddles of The Village, be beheaded. “Popolo di Pekino” People of Beijing:
Turandot , by an offhand gesture, quickly orders the dispatch of the unworthy head, and we move on!There’s a New Prince in Town, dazzled by The Village’s beauty.
Prince’s dad [previously in exile, who’s name, btw, is Howard Dean] urges the Prince to resist Turandot’s charms, don’t answer her damn questions, hell don’t even DEAL with her at all.Servant Girl Liù, [otherwise known as Normal People; not so normal if they’re totally in love with the dude, but as they worked on his campaign and knocked on doors for him and got other people to donate money to his campaign, they have a lot of skin in the game] is secretly in love with the Prince, and pleads with him; Listen to me!
Well, you know what the Prince does?
He sings “Don’t Cry For Me, Liù.” Which in Chinese, or Italian, is translated as “I got this.”
[He knows he’s dumping her ass; he flat out says to her “make the path of exile sweeter.” Meh. Anyhow, back to the Opera.]
So the Prince starts answering the Villager questions.
The Princess presents her first riddle: Straniero, ascolta! – "…..What is born each night and dies each dawn?" The Prince correctly replies, "Hope."
The Prince flips out the frikking Village Empress by actually answering all her 3 questions! Nobody could have predicted! W00T! But the Village totally FREAKS out! Just can’t frikking believe he passed the test, AT ALL. So Turandot throws a fucking hissy at that upstart Prince.
[In Questa Reggia] which in Italian/Villagespeak is ”I’ve been here a jillion years, and you’re an affront to me. So cut me some slack, even though you won fair and square.”
Guess what? The Prince is gobsmacked by this here nasty Princess! Who knew! He actually CUTS HER SOME SLACK! Dammit, my operanizzles, I totally did NOT see that coming!
So the Prince Tells Ms. Village, “If you can GUESS who I am by tomorrow, you can go ahead and cut my head off, like you’re used to doing with the other dudes.” PSYCH!
Ms. Turandot/Village so did NOT see this coming either. So she orders Congress to not sleep, you know, freeze up, freak out, teabag and stuff until she frikking knows his 11th dimension NAME! Like what he stands for and stuff.
He sings a “ha, ha, HAH!" Song to her.
Liù [remember her, you know the OFA people?] declares that she/they alone knows the Prince’s name and intent, but she/they will not reveal it. Ping [Bobo] demands the Prince’s name [the 11th dimensional one], and when she/they refuse, she/they is tortured.
Ms. Turandot/Village is clearly taken by Liù’s & the OFA people’s resolve and asks her/them who put so much strength in her/their heart. They answer "Princess, you know who, Hopey-Change!!!".
Turandot demands that Ping [Krauthammer] tear the Prince’s name from Liù/OFA’s lips, and he orders her/them to be tortured further.
Liù/OFA counters Turandot/Village (Tu che di gel sei cinta – "You who are begirdled by ice"), saying that the Village too shall learn love and hopey changiness!
Having spoken, Liù seizes a dagger from a soldier’s belt and stabs herself [or stays at home and doesn’t vote. You decide].
As she/they stagger towards the Prince and fall dead, the crowd screams for her/them to speak the Prince’s 11th dimensional name. Alas, it cannot be pronounced in a 4 dimensional world. Sighs ensue.
Since Timur1 [Tim Kaine] is blind, he must be told about Liù’/OFA’s death, and he cries out in anguish.
Timur2 [Howard Dean, Digby, others] warns that the gods will be offended by this outrage, and the crowd is totally freaked out, even though they read the warnings a jillion times.
The grieving Timur3 [Rham, now unemployed as his usefulness has been completed] and the crowd follow Liù’/OFA’s body as it is carried away. Everybody departs leaving the Prince and Turandot.
The Prince reproaches Turandot/Village/Olympia Snowe for her cruelty (The Prince, Turandot: Principessa di morte – "Princess of death")
This is the big point of it all. Just Watch It.
And then The Prince takes her/Village in his arms and kisses her/them in spite of her/their resistance. Peggy Noonan passes out, and it’s before noon. Weird.
The TOTALLY weird thing is, in the end? The Prince and The Evil Turandot Villager Empress end up married, and HAPPY!
Don’t mind about those dead people one second.
This is opera, people. It ain’t for sissies.