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Puccini’s Unfinished Final Opera Now Has the Ending It Deserves

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A Classic Opera Gets an Overdue Update

Francesca Zambello, artistic director of the Washington National Opera, talks about an exciting new staging of Puccini’s unfinished final opera, Turandot.

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Episode Notes

This week, host June Thomas talks to Francesca Zambello, artistic director of the Washington National Opera. In the interview, Francesca discusses the process of creating a brand new ending for Puccini’s unfinished final opera Turandot, from recruiting a composer and librettist to deciding on the visual language of the show. She also talks about her early career working overseas, the wide range of productions at the National Opera, and the kinds of shows that attract new opera fans.

After the interview, June and co-host Ronald Young Jr. talk about the ethics of changing or updating an artist’s work after their death.

In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, June asks Francesca if there are any other operas that she’d like to update or re-frame.

Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com or give us a call at (304) 933-9675.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.

If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get an ad-free experience across the network and exclusive content on many shows—you’ll also be supporting the work we do here on Working. Sign up now at slate.com/workingplus to help support our work.


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