The last, unfinished opera by Giaccomo Puccini is a story of a Chinese princess Turandot who kills the suitors that are not able to solve her riddles. In the character of the eccentric prince Kalaf, Passini brings into the performance the composer himself. Puccini, in New York hailed the most famous man in the world, the owner of 17 cars and a couple of hundred million dollars, knows that he is dying of larynx cancer. For many years the artist has lived with a trauma, after his servant, Doria Manfredi, committed suicide having been accused of an affair with the Maestro. From that moment on, Puccini introduces into his operas prostitutes, geishas and mistresses, who kill themselves, while performing an unbearably moving solo. Therefore, along the cold princess Turandot, the slave Liu appears onstage, naturally to take her own life. And to sing. The aria she sings before her death is the last one Puccini will have ever written. Inspired by “Naked Lunch” by William Borroughs journey to China. A silent opera with the use of Polish sign language.
“In ‘Turandot’ – a story about unbearable suffering – Passini gave this job to real masters of gestures who use sign language as their first language. He invited six young people to ‘sing’ parts of the opera with their hands during the performance. Them and Doria-Liu are the only characters using sign language. They fill the performance with meaning that we do not understand, but we can sense perfectly well that it is the essence. This way they manage to convey what, according to Passini, the dying Puccini tried to convey through his music. The composer couldn’t or did not manage to before his death, complete his attempt to find the voice of the ‘those who cannot be heard’”.
(Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska, Dwutygodnik 12/2009).