Astrakhan Tsar Timur, his family and power suffered a terrible misfortune: the ferocious sultan of Khorezm defeated the Astrakhan army and, bursting into a defenseless city, ordered the capture and execution of Timur, his wife Elmaz and son Calaf. That under the guise of commoners managed to escape to neighboring lands, but there they were pursued by the vindictiveness of the victor. For a long time the royal family roamed the Asian expanses, suffering unbearable privations; Prince Calaf, in order to feed the elderly parents, undertook For any black work.
This sad story Calaf tells his former teacher Barah, who accidentally meets at the gates of Beijing. Barah lives in Beijing under the name of Persian Hassan. He is married to a kind widow named
Prince Calaf arrived in Beijing with the intention of enlisting in the service of the emperor Altoum. But first he wants to look at the festival, preparations for which, it seems, are going on in the city.
However, this is not preparing a celebration, but the execution of another failed candidate for the hand of Princess Turandot – the prince of Samarkand. The fact is that the vain, cruel-hearted princess forced her father to issue such a decree: every prince can woo to Turandot, but with the fact that in the meeting of the Divine Wise she poses three riddles to him; who has unraveled them will become her husband, unsolved – will be beheaded. Since then, the heads of many glorious princes have adorned the walls of Beijing.
From the city gates comes the grief-stricken teacher of the newly executed prince. He throws to the ground and tramples the ill-fated portrait of Turandot, only one glance at which sufficed his pupil, to remember without love the heartless pride and thereby doom himself to perdition.
No matter how Barah Kalafa keeps, he, confident in his own sanity, selects a portrait. Alas! Where did his sanity and impassivity go? Burn with love, Calaf rushes to the city towards happiness or death.
Presenting himself before the emperor, Calaf does not call himself; he promises to reveal his name only if he unravels the riddles of the princess. The good-natured Altoum and the ministers beg Kalaf to be prudent and to back down, but the Prince persistently answers: “I long for death – or Turandot.”
Nothing to do. Solemn opening of the meeting of the Divan, at which Calaf to compete wisdom with the princess. She is accompanied by two slaves – Zelima and Adelma, once a Tatar princess. Both Turandot and Zelima Calaf seem at once more worthy than the previous candidates, for it surpasses all by their nobility of appearance, treatment and speeches. Adelma recognizes Calaf – but not as a prince, but as a servant in the palace of her father, the king of Khurasan; already then he conquered her heart, and now she decides at all costs not to allow his marriage to Turandot and himself to take hold of the prince’s love. Therefore, Adelma tries to harden the heart of the princess, reminding her of pride and glory, while Zelima, on the contrary, encourages her to be more merciful.
To the joy of the emperor, the ministers and Zelima, Calaf unravels all the three riddles of Turandot. However, the princess flatly refuses to go to the altar and demands that she be allowed the next day to guess Kalaf three new riddles. Altome resists such a violation of the decree, unquestioningly executed when the unfortunate seekers had to be executed, but the noble lover Calaf goes towards Turandot: he himself offers her to guess what kind of father and son they have and have lost everything; If the princess tomorrow guesses their names, he is ready to die, if not, be a wedding.
Turandot is convinced that if she does not succeed in guessing the names of her father and son, she will forever be disgraced. The conviction of this insinuating speeches warms up in her Adelma. With her sharp mind, the princess realized that under the son the mysterious prince had in mind himself. But how could he find out his name? She asks for advice from her slaves, and Zelima tells a knowingly hopeless way – to turn to fortune-tellers and Kabbalists. Adelma, however, reminds Turandot of the Prince’s words that there is one person in Beijing who knows him, and suggests not to regret gold and diamonds, so that overnight, turning the whole city upside down, find this man.
Zelima, in whose soul the feeling struggled for a long time with the debt, finally reluctantly tells the lady that, according to her mother Skiriny, her stepfather, Hassan, is familiar with the prince. The delighted Turandot immediately sends the eunuchs, led by Truffaldino, to find and seize Hassan.
Together with Hassan-Barach, the eunuchs grab his overly talkative wife and some old man; all three of them are taken to serals. They do not know that the unfortunate, ragged old man is none other than Astrakhan Tsar Timur, Calaf’s father. Buried in a foreign land wife, he came to Beijing to find his son or find death. Fortunately, Barach manages to whisper to the master, so that he does not under any circumstances name his name. Meanwhile, Kalafa is being escorted to special apartments guarded by the imperial pages and their chief Brighella.
Seral Turandot. Here the princess interrogates the prisoners tied to the columns of Barakh and Timur, threatening them with torture and brutal death if they do not name the mysterious prince and his father. But both of them are more valuable than their own lives. The only thing Timur is involuntarily talking about is that he is the king and father of the prince.
Turandot already gives the eunuchs a sign to begin the massacre of Barach, when suddenly in the seraglio Adelma appears with the news that Altoum is heading here; prisoners are hastily taken away to the dungeon of the seraglio. Adelma asks the princess not to torment them any more and promises, if she is allowed to act on her own, for the night to find out the names of the prince and the king. Turandot completely trusts the approximate slave.
Meanwhile, a messenger from Astrakhan arrives at Altoum. In his secret message he says that the Sultan of Khorezm died and that the Astrakhans call Timur to take his rightful throne. According to the detailed descriptions described in the letter, Altoom understands who this unknown prince is. Wishing to protect the honor of his daughter, who, he is convinced, will not be able to guess the desired names, and also save Kalaf’s life, the emperor invites her to reveal the secret – but with the proviso that after flashing in the Divine of the wise, she will then agree to become the wife of the prince. Pride, however, does not allow Turandot to accept his father’s offer; in addition, she hopes that Adelma will fulfill his promise.
Brighella, who is guarding Calaph’s chambers, warns the prince that, since the guards are people who are forced, and besides, everyone wants to put money on old age, at night ghosts may appear to him.
The first ghost does not take long to wait. This is the sketch sent by Adelma Skirin. She informs Calaf about the death of her mother and that his father is now in Beijing. Skirina asks the prince to say a few words to the old father, but he discovers the trick and refuses.
Hardly Skirina with anything is removed, as in the chambers of the prince is Zelima. She tries a different approach: in fact, says the slave, Turandot does not hate the prince, but secretly loves. Therefore, she asks him to reveal the names, so that next morning she did not shame before the Divan, and promises to give him his hand in the Divan. The astute Calaf does not believe Zelima either. The third is Adelma herself. She opens Calaf in her love and begs to run away together, because, according to her, the insidious Turandot still ordered at the dawn to kill him, without waiting for the meeting of the Divan. Kalaf refuses resolutely, but, cast down in despair by the brutality of his beloved, speaks half-bredly his own and his father’s name.
During such conversations the night passes. The next morning, Kalaf is escorted to the Divan.
The sofa is already assembled, only Turandot and her retinue are missing. Althoum, confident that the princess never managed to recognize the name of the father and son, sincerely rejoices and orders here, in the meeting room, to arrange a temple.
The altar is already installed, when Turandot finally appears in the Sofa. The view of the princess and retinue of the funeral. But, as it turns out, this is only a cruel vindictive joke. She knows the names and, triumphantly, proclaims them. The emperor and the ministers are heartbroken; Calaf is preparing for death.
But here, to everyone’s joy and amazement, Turandot is transformed – the love for Calaf, in which she did not dare to confess even to herself, takes precedence over cruelty, vanity and misery. In public, she announces that Calaf will not be executed, but will also become her husband.
I’m not happy with Adelma. In tears she throws Turandot bitter reproach in that, having previously taken freedom, now she takes away her love. But here comes Althoum: love is not in his power, but in order to comfort Adelma, he gives her freedom and the Horasan kingdom of her father.
Finally, cruelty and injustice end. Everyone is happy. Turandot from the bottom of the heart asks the sky to forgive her stubborn disgust for men. The upcoming wedding promises to be very, very joyful.