Nessun Dorma

Aria from Turandot

Composer : Giacomo Puccini
Title : Nessun Dorma
Period : Post-romanticsm | opera

"Nessun dorma" is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot (text by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni) one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera. It is sung by Calaf, il principe ignoto (the unknown prince), who falls in love at first sight with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. Any man who wishes to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles; if he fails, he will be beheaded. In the aria, Calaf expresses his triumphant assurance that he will win the princess.

Although "Nessun dorma" had long been a staple of operatic recitals, Luciano Pavarotty popularised the piece beyond the opera world in the 1990s following his performance of it for the 1990 World Cup, which captivated a global audience. Both Pavarotti and  Placido Domingo released singles of the aria, with Pavarotti's reaching number 2 in the UK, and it appeared on the bestselling classical album of all time, The Three Tenors in Concert. The Three Tenors, which includes Jose Carreras, performed the aria at three subsequent World Cup Finals, in 1994 in Los Angeles, 1998 in Paris, and 2002 in Yokohama. Since 1990, many crossover artists have performed and recorded it. The aria has been sung often in films and on television.