Turandot is to be staged at the Aurora Theatre in Victoria on October 26 in what promises to be one of the theatrical highlights of the year.

Two opera icons are taking part - Eva Marton and Nicola Martinucci.

Puccini died before Turandot was completed - yet it is undoubtedly one of the most popular and frequently performed of his works. It was completed by Franco Alfano.

Set in Imperial China, Turandot is a princess and anybody who wants to marry her has to solve three riddles. Those who failed to solve one of these riddles would face death.

Turandot represents not only Puccini's final opera, but closes the chapter on a glorious period of melodrama which blossomed in the late 19th century.

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), the last great genius of Italian opera, left a legacy of works such as La Bohème, Tosca and Madame Butterfly.

Eva Marton made her debut in Vienna in 1983 and in a relatively short period earned the title of the finest soprano in the world.

The New York Times named Marton as 'singer of the year' in 1981 and 1987 and 'artiste of the year' in 1982.

Nicola Martinucci is one of Italy's best tenors, and during his illustrious career performed in the best theatres around the world.

Martinucci, who will play the role of Calaf, has previously performed in the operas Aida in Egypt and Tosca in Verona.

Gozitan soprano Rita Dimech will play the part of Liu while Albert Buttigieg will play Timur, Calaf's father.

Others taking part are tenors Angelo Scardina, Charles Vincenti and Elias Cassar, and baritone Joe Huber.

Musical direction is in the hands of Aurora resident director Colin Attard, backed by the National Orchestra, the Aurora choir and members of the Banda Cittadina Leone.

Those wishing to make provisional booking may do so by calling the Aurora Theatre on 21 559452. Booking opens on September 15.

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