Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 July 2004
This article examines the new finale by Luciano Berio for Puccini's Turandot, commissioned by the Festival de Musica de Gran Canarias and prèmiered in 2002. This finale constitutes a priviledged point of view from which to revisit not only the composer's life-long engagement with musical works of the past, but also his theatrical aesthetics, thrown into sharp relief by the particular challenges of this endeavour. Berio's compositional process is carefully reconstructed, from his interventions on the libretto to his respectful yet creative use of the numerous sketches left behind by Puccini. Particular attention is then paid to Berio's choice of reminiscences from earlier scenes of the opera, as well as to his citations from Wagner's Tristan, Mahler's Seventh Symphony and Schönberg's Gurrelieder. A separate section is devoted to Berio's most original contribution: a long orchestral interlude at the moment when Calaf kisses Turandot. The article concludes with a detailed scrutiny of Berio's orchestration.