The Romantic World of Puccini

A New Critical Appraisal of the Operas


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About the Book

Giacomo Puccini, composer of some of the world’s most popular operas, including La Bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly, was also a highly literary person who based his librettos on existing works of literature. This work explores that literary inheritance in an effort to enhance the listener’s appreciation of the operatic experience. The author argues that the majority of Puccini’s operas compose a grand cycle that finds its roots in the romance genre of 12th century France, serving to celebrate the strong, independent heroine. Via a close examination of the source works, the librettos, and the scores, this book offers fresh perspective on Puccini’s legacy.

About the Author(s)

Iris J. Arnesen is a lecturer on opera and editor of The Opera Glass, a performing arts periodical that covers opera, theatre, dance, and concert music. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Iris J. Arnesen
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 308
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4482-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5434-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Genre      5
2. The World of the Rose Cycle      14
3. The Dramatic Influences of Wagner and the Conclusion of the Rose Cycle      26

4. Le Villi      43
5. Manon Lescaut      56
6. La Bohème      76
7. Tosca      99
8. Madama Butterfly      126
9. La Fanciulla del West      158
10. La Rondine            203
11. Il Tabarro      230
12. Suor Angelica      242
13. Turandot      256
14. The Trouble with Turandot, and How to Fix It      281
15. Conclusion      283

Appendix: The Operas of Giacomo Puccini      287
Chapter Notes      289
Bibliography      295
Index      297