An authoritative and vividly written biography of Puccini, illuminating the life and works of this revered Italian composer
Julian Budden, one of the world´s foremost scholars of Italian opera and author of a monumental three-volume study of Verdi´s works, now offers music lovers a major new biography of one of the giants of Italian opera, Giacomo Puccini.
Blending astute musical analysis with a colorful account of Puccini´s life, here is an illuminating look at some of the mostpopular operas in the repertoire, including Manon Lescaut, La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly , andTurandot . Budden provides an illuminating look at the process of putting an opera together, the cut-and-slash of nineteenth-century Italian opera--the struggle to find the right performers for the debut of La Boheme , Puccini´s anxiety about completing Turandot (he in fact died of cancer before hedid so), his animosity toward his rival Leoncavallo (whom he called Leonasino or "lion-ass"). Budden provides an informative analysis of the operas themselves, examining the music act by act. He highlights, among other things, the influence of Wagner on Puccini--alone among his Italian contemporaries, Puccini followed Wagner´s example in bringing the motif into the forefront of his narrative, sometimes voicing the singer´s unexpressed thoughts, sometimes sending out a signal to the audience of which the character is unaware. And Budden also paints an intriguing portrait of Puccini the man--talented but modest, a man who had friends from every walk of life: shopkeepers, priests, wealthy landowners, fellow artists. Affable, well mannered, gifted with a broad sense of fun, he rarely failed to charm all who met him.
A new volume in the esteemed Master Musicians series, Puccini offers a masterful portrait of this beloved Italian composer.