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Turandot

Turandot is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, posthumously completed by Franco Alfano in 1926, set to a libretto in Italian by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. Though Puccini's first interest in the subject was based on his reading of Friedrich Schiller's 1801 adaptation of the play, his work is most nearly based on the earlier text Turandot by Count Carlo Gozzi; the original story is based on one of the seven stories in the epic Haft Peykar. Nizami aligned the seven stories with the seven days of the week, the seven colors and the seven corresponding planets; this particular story is the story of Tuesday, being told to the king of Iran, Bahram V, by his companion of the red dome, associated with Mars. In the first line of this story, the protagonist is identified as a Russian princess; the name of the opera is based on Turan-Dokht, a common name used in Persian poetry for Central Asian princesses. The opera's version of the story is set in China and involves Prince Calaf, who falls in love with the cold Princess Turandot.

To obtain permission to marry her, a suitor has to solve three riddles. Calaf passes the test, he offers her a way out: if she is able to learn his name before dawn the next day at daybreak he will die. In the original story by Nizami, the princess sets four conditions; the first is "a good name and good deeds", the three challenges. The opera was unfinished at the time of Puccini's death in 1924, was completed by Franco Alfano in 1926; the first performance was held at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 25 April 1926 and conducted by Arturo Toscanini. This performance included not Alfano's additions; the first performance of the opera as completed by Alfano was the following night, 26 April, although it is disputed whether this was conducted by Toscanini again or by Ettore Panizza. Turandot is a Persian word and name that means "the daughter of Turan", Turan being a region of Central Asia part of the Persian Empire; the name of the opera is taken with dokht being a contraction of dokhtar. However, the original protagonist in Nizami's story is identified in the first line of the Persian poem as being from Russia.

The story is known as the story of the Red Dome among the Seven Domes stories in Nizami's Haft Peykar. According to Puccini scholar Patrick Vincent Casali, the final t is silent in the opera's and title character's name, making it sound. Soprano Rosa Raisa, who created the title role, says. Eva Turner, a prominent Turandot, did not pronounce the final t, as television interviews with her attest. Casali maintains that the musical setting of many of Calaf's utterances of the name makes sounding the final t all but impossible. On the other hand, Simonetta Puccini, the composer's granddaughter and keeper of the Villa Puccini and Mausoleum, has said that the final t must be pronounced. Italo Marchini questioned her about this in 2002. Ms. Puccini said. In the Venetian dialect of Carlo Gozzi the final syllables are dropped and words end in a consonant, ergo Turandott, as the name has been made Venetian; the story of Turandot was taken from a Persian collection of stories called The Book of One Thousand and One Days – where the character of "Turandokht" as a cold princess was found.

The story of Turandokht is one of the best known from de la Croix's translation. The plot respects the classical unities of time and action. Puccini first began working on Turandot in March 1920 after meeting with librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. In his impatience he began composition in January 1921 before Adami and Simoni had produced the text for the libretto. Baron Fassini Camossi, the former Italian diplomat to China, gave Puccini as a gift a music box which played a number of Chinese melodies. Puccini used three of these in the opera, including the national anthem and, most memorably, the folk melody "Mo Li Hua", first heard sung by the children's chorus after the invocation to the moon in act 1, becomes a sort of'leitmotif' for the princess throughout the opera. Puccini commissioned a set of 13 gongs constructed by the Tronci family for Turandot. Decades percussionist Howard Van Hyning of the New York City Opera had been searching for a proper set of gongs and obtained the original set from the Stivanello Costume Company, which had acquired the gongs as the result of winning a bet.

In 1987 he bought the gongs for his collection, paying thousands of dollars for the set, which he described as having "colorful, intense and perfumed" sound qualities. By March 1924 Puccini had completed the opera up to the final duet. However, he was unsatisfied with the text of the final duet, did not continue until 8 October, when he chose Adami's fourth version of the duet text. On 10 October he was diagnosed with throat cancer and on 24 November went to Brussels, for treatment. There he underwent a experimental radiation therapy treatment. Puccini and his wife never knew how serious the cancer was, as the news was revealed only to his son. Puccini, seems to have had some inkling of the possible seriousness of his condition since, before leaving for B

Nigel Martin-Smith

Nigel Martin-Smith is a Manchester-based English musical band manager. He helped form the 1990s British boy band Take That. Martin-Smith entered the entertainment industry in the early 1980s working as a casting agent from offices in Manchester's Royal Exchange. From there, he challenged the "London-centric" attitude of many in the business, championing the cause of local talent and establishing many actors in film and television, his first success in the music industry was the artist Damian who had a UK top 10 hit with a cover of "The Time Warp" in 1989. He ran the Film Artist Agency at Half Moon Chambers in Manchester. In 1989 following the success of US boyband New Kids on the Block, Martin-Smith decided to create a British version of NKOTB with a similar "chosen" formula of singers and dancers. In 1990, he assembled Gary Barlow, a 19-year-old from Cheshire, singing and playing the piano on the northern club circuit for five years. Martin-Smith put out an advertisement for another singer, chose 16-year-old bodypopper Robbie Williams from Stoke-on-Trent.

Take That sold 19 million records between 1990 and 1996. Between the band's first single release in 1991 and their break-up in 1996, the BBC described Take That as "the most successful British band since The Beatles in the UK, beloved of young and old alike". Take That's dance-oriented pop tunes and ballads dominated the UK charts in the first half of the 1990s, spawning two of the best selling albums of the decade with Everything Changes in 1993 and their Greatest Hits in 1996. In 1995, Williams left the band. After his departure, the third Take That album Nobody Else was re-issued in some markets excluding some vocals by Williams, most notably a new recording of "Love Ain't Here Anymore". Williams did not perform any lead vocals on this album, band members blamed this on his "lack of interest and commitment" in the recording of the album; the rest of the band split in 1996. In 1995 Gay Times listed Martin-Smith as one of the most influential gay people in music. In 2007 Martin-Smith was parodied in the Channel 4 spoof documentary series Star Stories.

Robbie Williams left Take That in 1995 under a strict confidentiality agreement. In 1997, Martin-Smith sued Williams for unpaid commission in relation to a Take That management contract. Williams responded by saying that Martin-Smith had been in breach of his fiduciary duties as the group's manager; the court found in Martin-Smith's favour and determined that Williams had indeed violated the terms of the contract. Williams lost again; the feud between the pair resurfaced when Williams' biography written by the journalist Chris Heath, Feel: Robbie Williams was published in 2004. Williams described how Martin-Smith destroyed his confidence, did not hide his hatred for Martin-Smith whom he calls "the spawn of Satan" claiming that the manager told people he was gay, he noted that: "I can say something nice about every single member of Take That. But when it comes to Nigel Martin-Smith.... I want to rip his uterus out."In response, Martin-Smith blamed Williams' inability to deal with his sexuality as the major cause of the singer's insecurity and his drug and alcohol issues, stated: "It's sad that Robbie has turned out like he has.

He doesn't seem at all happy. He has been suppressed and the ramifications of that are now beginning to show, he looks a mess, he looks like a lost unhappy individual. It's telling that none of his relationships with women have lasted, he is now dating another actress in LA. It won't last. It's all for show. Deep down he is gay. Robbie and I were comfortable with each other, he knew what he wanted. That's not the behaviour of a man, experimenting for fun, it was for real."On Williams' 2006 album Rudebox, Williams detailed in the track "The 90s" about how he fantasised about gouging out Martin-Smith's eyes out during his time with Take That. The lyrics prompted Martin-Smith to instigate legal action against Williams and EMI prior to the album's release. EMI instructed Williams to remove the offending lyrics. However, since promotional copies of the album had been dispatched to the media and the lyrics had been made public knowledge, Martin-Smith proceeded with his lawsuit against Williams and EMI and won £300,000 in the High Court for defamation of character.

Williams and EMI were forced to issue a public apology to Martin-Smith. Martin-Smith entered into a consultancy deal with Virgin Records and managed the come back of Scottish singer Lulu. Around this time, Martin-Smith made a huge investment in his Manchester-based talent agencies moving into purpose-built studios and offices and employing leading agents to oversee his roster of artistes; the NMSM Talent Group now incorporates: Urban Talent: an agency specialising professional actors with a natural talent to work in television. Two of its clients are actors Gerrard Thompson from In James Bryhan from The Apostate. Lime actors - a management company for professional, trained actors. One of its clients was former Coronation Street actor Adam Rickitt, signed in 1997. Nemesis Agency was sold in a pre-pack deal after entering administration in June 2013. In 2005, Martin-Smith was contracted to work on the re-launch of Take That which saw him co-produce a TV documentary about the group, manage the release

Nivedita Setu

Nivedita Setu is an extradosed bridge over Hooghly River connecting Howrah with Kolkata, in West Bengal. It runs parallel to and around 50 m downstream of the old Vivekananda Setu opened in 1932; the bridge is named after the social worker-disciple of Swami Vivekananda. Belghoria Expressway that connects the meeting point of NH 2 with NH 6 at Dankuni to NH 34, NH 35, Dum Dum Airport and northern parts of Kolkata passes over the bridge; the bridge is designed to carry 48,000 vehicles per day. Vivekananda Setu had become weak as a result of ageing and with heavy traffic repairs became difficult. There was need for a second bridge; the main challenge was to design and construct a new bridge that did not mar the view of the old Vivekananda Setu, did not dwarf the important Dakshineswar Kali Temple, located well within visible distance, carry higher levels of fast traffic for around half a century. The bridge rests on deep-well foundations going down to the river bed level, it carries six lanes for high speed traffic.

The carriageway is supported by 254 pre-stressed concrete girders. Cables from 14m high pylons extend additional support. Nivedita Setu is the first bridge in the country, a single profile cable-stayed bridge. By design, the height of the columns are lower than the tip of the Dakshineswar temple; this "wonder of an architecture" bridge is estimated to cost Rs. 6,50 crore. The construction of the bridge started in April 2004, by the construction giant Larsen and Toubro and was opened to traffic in a record time in July 2007; the bridge is the India's first multi-span, single-plane cable supported extra-dosed bridge. It will be able to support 6 lanes of traffic. Nivedita Setu has won an Award of Excellence from the American Segmental Bridge Institute, USA; as of 2011, the toll charges for using Nivedita Setu are: ₹ 43 — light passenger vehicles ₹ 65 — buses ₹ 99–₹ 183 — trucks and multi-axle vehicles. List of longest bridges in the world List of longest bridges above water in India Image of bridge Another image of bridge