Tu che di gel sei cinta

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"Tu che di gel sei cinta" (You who are enclosed by ice) is a soprano aria from act 3, scene 1, of Puccini's 1926 opera Turandot. The words were actually written by Puccini himself. Waiting for librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni to deliver the next part of the libretto, he wrote the words, and when they read them they decided that they could not do better.[1] It is sung by Liù under torture, prior to her suicide. Turandot is clearly taken by Liù's resolve and asks her who put so much strength in her heart. Liù answers "Princess, Love!".

TURANDOT Chi pose tanta forza nel tuo cuore?
LIÙ Principessa, l'amore!

Turandot demands that Ping tear the Prince's name from Liù, and he orders her to be tortured. Liù counters Turandot:

You who are enclosed by ice,
vanquished by such fire,
you will love him, too!

Having spoken, Liù seizes a dagger from a soldier's belt and stabs herself.

Though only 8 lines long, the aria marks a keystone of act 3 and, in its contrast between Liù and Turandot, of the opera as a whole.

In the following moments, the blind Timur tries to wake Liù, saying it is dawn (Liù, Liù, sorgi, sorgi). When told she is dead, he cries out in anguish that her offended spirit will take revenge, and Liù's cortège moves off, with Timur vowing to accompany her into "the night which knows no dawn".

In their work on Turandot, Ashbrook and Powers suggest that Puccini's failure to complete the opera much beyond this point resulted mainly from inadequate dramatic buildup for Turandot's last-minute change of heart combined with an overly successful treatment of the secondary character (i.e. Liù).


  1. ^ Colin Kendell, The Complete Puccini, Amberley Publishing 2012