Pavarotti performing “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot.
Calaf, in love with the cruel princess Turandot, has issued a challenge: if she can guess his name by morning, she can have him executed; if she can’t, she must marry him. She angrily departs, declaring that no one will sleep tonight (nessun dorma!) and Calaf anticipates his victory. The aria ends with his declaration of success: “Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! Tramontate, stelle! All’alba vincerò! Vincerò! Vincerò!” (Vanish, night! Set, stars! Set, stars! At daybreak, I shall win! I shall win! I shall win!)