“Princess Turandot” based on a fairy tale by Carlo Gozzi is the last lifetime performance of Yevgeny Vakhtangov , which he staged in 1922 at the Third Moscow Art Theater (later the E. Vakhtangov State Academic Theater ) and is considered a masterpiece of the theater  .
At various times, such actors as Nina Slastenina-Shukhmina , Cecilia Mansurova , Yulia Borisova , Aleksey Zhiltsov , Nikolai Gritsenko , Lyudmila Maksakova , Boris Zakhava , Vasily Lanovoi , Ruben Simonov , Joseph Tolchanov , Mikhail Ulyanov , Yuri Yakovlev , Ekaterina Raykina played in the play Marianna Vertinskaya , Vyacheslav Shalevich , Vladimir Etush and many others. A new generation came with the new version of the play, Alexander Ryschenkov , Irina Dymchenko , Marina Esipenko , Anna Dubrovskaya and others began to play in it.
It is believed that the Vakhtang interpretation of “Princess Turandot”, and the principles of the ironic tale that the director used in the play (“playing a fairy tale” or “fairy tale in a fairy tale”, perceived by an adult mind), influenced the further development of the literary fairy tale genre  . In particular, the theater expert EI Isaeva believes that Schwartz’s aesthetics is unthinkable outside the context of this performance  .
The style of “Princess Turandot” turned out to be decisive for the future theater, in connection with which this performance became its generally accepted symbol, as well as a symbol of the whole theatrical direction, the theater school based on the Vakhtang concept of a “theater-holiday”  .
Cruel beauty Chinese princess Turandot does not want to get married. So that the suitors did not overcome, she came up with an impossible task - to solve the three most difficult puzzles, and whoever does not guess - to execute him. But the flow of lovers does not dry out. To each new bridegroom arriving, she concocts her riddles, after which the unfortunate woman is taken to execution. But then another lover appears - the audience knows that this is Prince Kalaf, but the insidious Turandot has yet to find out. She, as always, makes her riddles. After various tragic and comedic adventures, the fairy tale ends with universal love and marriage at once of a maturing princess and a noble prince.
Entertainment is brought by four characters - the classic masks of the Italian comedy del arte theater: Truffaldino , Tartaglia , Pantalone , Brigella .
- Turandot, Princess of China, daughter of Altoum
- Kalaf, Prince of Nogai Tatars , son of Timur
- Altoum, Emperor of China
- Adelma, Princess of Tatar, beloved slave Turandot
- Zelima, another slave Turandot
- Barah, under the name of Hassan, former teacher of Calaf
- Skirina, mother of Zelima, wife of Barakh
- Timur, king of Astrakhan
- Pantalone , Secretary of Altoum 
- Tartaglia , Grand Chancellor
- Brigella , the head of the pages
- Truffaldino , chief of the eunuchs of the seraglio Turandot
- Ishmael, former educator of Tsarevich Samarkand
- Wise men of the Divan, slaves and slaves, servants
The first performance took place on February 28, 1922 . Artist I.I. Nivinsky . Musical arrangement - Nikolay Sizov, Alexander Kozlovsky . The first performer of the role of the princess was Cecilia Mansurova , and the prince of Calaf was Yuri Zavadsky . Altoum - Basov , Timur - Boris Zakhava , Tartaglia - Boris Schukin , Truffaldino - Ruben Simonov , Pantalone - Ivan Kudryavtsev , Brigella - Oswald Glazunov , Adelma - Anna Orochko , Skirina - Elizaveta Liaudanskaya , Zelima - Alexandra Remizova , Izmail.
Vakhtangov staged Turandot as an ironic tale in which the actors played not the heroes themselves, but actors of the Venetian theater troupe playing the Princess Turandot  . The rivalry between Turandot and Adelma in the fairy tale was at the same time the acting rivalry of the two prima donnas of the troupe for the location of the hero-lover playing Calaf. This approach, set by the director in 1922, was embodied only in the first production of the play, and was gradually lost over time, even before the creation of new versions of Turandot  .
As already noted, in the production of E. B. Vakhtangov, the main thing is not the plot of a classic fairy tale, but the witty modern comments of the actors themselves. The text of interludes and puzzles was originally created by playwright Nikolai Erdman  . Actors not only create a psychological image of the characters, but also express their own attitude towards them and the plot, a little ironic, funny, mocking, sometimes touching and lyrical, sometimes satirical. A deliberate game with the use of uncomplicated props immediately sets you up for a fun carnival mood. Beard - a towel holding on an elastic; scepter - sports tennis racket; if desired, a step-ladder turns into anything, even a musical instrument. Any props in the hands of the actor “play” the role of what they are at the moment in the course of the plot. The actors seem to play a children's game when ordinary everyday objects are transformed by imagination into others necessary to follow a fairy tale plot. But they will not let the viewer enter the fairy tale completely; they will immediately return to reality with a harsh response to the mischievous partner: “Do not break theater furniture!” Spectators and actors are thus not inside the action, but somewhat from the outside.
All characters of the production are masculine and symbolically deep at the same time: the ruler Emperor Altoum is a sweet smiling grandfather who adores a capricious daughter, but in his country lawless cruel manners; the dumb sages of the Divan are typical exemplary officials whose main business is to nod on time. Everyone is smiling there, but it's scary to live there. Modern characteristics and associations turn theatrical action into a bright, colorful, musical, witty, enchantingly sparkling pamphlet.
Theater critic V. A. Shcherbakov notes:
Vakhtangov’s meeting with the masks of the Italian “improvisational comedy” was marked by an event of great importance - the well-known independence of the mask, its isolation from the representative who represents her, prompted the director to the famous principle of “removal” . By means of this principle, which provides the performer with the right to evaluate the character being played, to a personal attitude towards him, Vakhtangov proposed a new solution to the problem of improvisation and the task of acting in a tough directorial drawing. In Turandot, the synthesis of the results of experiments in the Studio at Borodinskaya and in the First Moscow Art Theater Studio was carried out: an attempt was made here to combine improvisational well-being in the performer (realizing Stanislavsky’s demand to live the role “every time again”) and the state of the improviser (arising - according to Meyerhold - from the joy of the game). [one]
"Princess Turandot" was a phenomenal success. Konstantin Stanislavsky, who was present at the rehearsals of the play, conveyed to the dying Vakhtangov that “he can fall asleep as a winner”  . According to the recollections of eyewitnesses, at the performances, the audience climbed with excitement onto the backs of chairs  .
One of the critics wrote: “Having looked at Turandot, I believe the melted snow, the arrival of birds and the coming spring, because it has already begun on the Arbat, in Berg’s mansion”  .
Vladimir Etush quotes G. A. Tovstonogov :
I read with great pleasure from Tovstonogov that he considered his teacher Nemirovich until he came to Moscow and watched “Princess Turandot” - then he wrote that he had two teachers  .
In the second production of the play, restored by Ruben Simonov in 1963, during the “thaw” , the role of Prince Kalaf was played by Vasily Lanova , and Princess Turandot was played by Julia Borisova (in the second composition Victor Zozulin and Marianna Vertinskaya ). Masks - Nikolai Gritsenko (Tartaglia), Mikhail Ulyanov (Brigella), Yuri Yakovlev (Pantalone), Maxim Grekov (Truffaldino). This version of the play was filmed by television (in 1971 and 1999 ). The 1971 version was released on cassettes and DVDs (in the 2000s ).
In this version, the task embodied by Vakhtangov in 1922 - to tell the story of the troupe playing the play - was not posed. There are two planes of the image left: the actors did not play the passions of their heroes, but an ironic attitude towards them. Absolute seriousness was also filmed by the masks interludes, which commented on what was happening in an emphasized modern spirit, which opened up wide opportunities for improvisation  .
Yuri Yakovlev recalled this statement as follows:
The task of the masks in the performance of Vakhtangov was defined as commentary. They discuss the events of the plot, simultaneously entertaining the audience and communicating with it, necessarily attracting modern topics that are on everyone’s ears.
We had to, while retaining the character of the masks of the “comedy del arte”, pronounce the text on such topics. This turned out to be the most difficult, because many comedians whom Simonov tried to attract to the work could not fall into the tone of the play. But still, taking something from the comedians, bringing something ourselves, we felt for the right thing. 
In particular, according to Y. Yakovlev, A. I. Raikin helped him create the image of Pantalone for this performance  .
After the untimely death of Maxim Grekov, the role of Truffaldino was played by Ernst Zorin . Other roles: Mikhail Dadyko - Altoum, Lyudmila Maksakova - Adelma, Ekaterina Raikina - Zelima, Nina Nekhlopochenko - Skirina, Harry Dunts - Barakh, Anatoly Katsinsky - Timur, Evgeny Fedorov - Ismail.
In 1991, during Perestroika , the stage of social change, the performance was again restored by director Gari Chernyakhovsky . The artist is Oleg Sheintsis . The text of interludes in the third edition was invented by V. Shenderovich  .
Performers of roles: Altoum - Oleg Forostenko , Yuri Kraskov ; Turandot - Marina Esipenko , Anna Dubrovskaya ; Adelma - Lidia Velezheva ; Calaf - Alexander Ryschenkov , Alexey Zavyalov ; Timur - Victor Zozulin , Alexander Pavlov ; Tartaglia - Mikhail Vaskov ; Pantalone - Vladimir Simonov , Anatoly Menshchikov ; Brigella - Alexander Pavlov ; Truffaldino - Alexey Kuznetsov , Oleg Lopukhov .
In the new version, the performance received very poor reviews from critics  . For example, Grigory Zaslavsky wrote that this production “did not become a success, this can be admitted without fear of being known as a subverter of authorities and established truths; This performance was not removed from the poster, but it was against this background that the special renewal of the Princess Turandot in the old composition of 1963 dedicated to the anniversary of the theater became a special triumph ”  . One of the few positive reviews was a note by critic E. Rudakov, who defended the point of view that the play was “conceptual and principled in relation to both of the former Turandot”, noting that the production of Chernyakhovsky was “an occasion for a sad joke, unhappy, despite laughter in the hall, the rally is not Gozzi's fairy tale, not the legend of Turandot, but our credulity ”  .
In December 2006, the performance was “suspended” by decision of the artistic council of the theater.
At the same time, Vasily Lanovoi noted: “I voted to suspend the performance. He needs to clean the feathers, rebuild while we are still alive, ”and Mikhail Ulyanov (in 2006, the theater’s artistic director) commented on the artistic council’s decision:“ It will take some time, we will try to return it, but I still don’t understand how ” [6 ] .
At the same time, for example, theater actress Yulia Rutberg in one of the interviews said that at one time she refused her role in “Princess Turandot”, as she believed that the resumption of Vakhtangov’s performance would be unsuccessful and that “this symbol is better to remain in the legend”  .
- Crystal Turandot
- Turandot (opera)
- Shcherbakov V. A. Motives of the Italian comedy of masks in Russian directorial art of the 1910–20s. (inaccessible link) . Round table "Italian drama and Russian theater at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries" (May 13, 2008). Date of treatment July 24, 2009. Archived March 4, 2012.
- Isaeva E.I. Carlo Gozzi and the Russian theater tale (inaccessible link) . Round table "Italian drama and Russian theater at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries" (May 13, 2008). Date of treatment July 24, 2009. Archived March 4, 2012.
- "Princess Turandot" on the website of the Vakhtangov Theater
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