Jasmine Flowers | Chinese folk song adapted in Puccini's opera Turandot


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Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini's hit opera Turandot (杜蘭多) adapted the tune of a very popular Chinese folk song Jasmine Flowers (茉莉花). I imagine Jasmine Flowers worked as a perfect material for Puccini to portray the princess as an oriental beauty.

After the premiere in 1926 in Milan, Italy, Turandot has become one of the most performed and celebrated operas to this day. It has always been the exotic settings of the stories and the hightened emotions that make Puccini's operas compelling and unforgettable. Turandot is no exception.

The melody of Jasmine Flowers is made out of a pentatonic scale, very often referred to as a scale that gives oriental colors. In this episode I will demonstrate the singing of this folk song in solfege, as well as in Chinese.

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