Would someone please tell me when and why seemingly everyone suddenly started pronouncing the final "t" in Turandot?
According to every source I've seen (you can easily google this stuff, but here's the Wikipedia entry), Puccini himself did not pronounce the final "t," and neither did Rosa Raisa, who created the role, and neither did Toscanini, who conducted the premiere, and neither did Eva Turner, another famous early exponent of the title role. And isn't it obviously more awkward to sing the name with the final "t" pronounced? So why do so many people now think they know better than Eva Turner, Rosa Raisa, Arturo Toscanini, and Puccini himself?
Apparently Puccini's grand-daughter, Simonetta Puccini, favors pronouncing the final "t," with no reason given (and no citation given in Wikipedia, either); though I'm sure she's a lovely woman, there's no genetic authority here; if Puccini's contemporaries, who knew him and worked with him, say that he didn't pronounce the "t," then it shouldn't be pronounced.
As you can see from Wikipedia or other sources, the name derives from a Persian name in which the final "t" is pronounced, which is interesting but irrelevant if the creator of the opera didn't pronounce the name that way. You can also see claims that Carlo Gozzi's play Turandot should have the final "t" pronounced due to the Venetian dialect he spoke, which again is interesting but irrelevant to the opera. No one claims that Verdi's penultimate opera should be pronounced Othello rather than Otello because his source is Shakespeare and Shakespeare has the "th," or that Byron was "wrong" to anglicize the pronunciation of Don Juan into Don Jew-un.
So, seriously, what gives?
(No doubt one reason I feel strongly about this is that the pronunciation of my last name was anglicized by my grandparents (so that it rhymes with "jazz") and I constantly have to correct people who think they are being "authentic," whatever that means.)