The Operas of Puccini

Offered 5/24/21 at 1:00

Giacomo Puccini is one of the most popular and revered names in the Italian operatic tradition. Lauded in his early years as the heir to Giuseppe Verdi, he wrote a dozen stage works over the course of his 40-year career as an opera composer, from Le Villi in 18884 to Turandot, still incomplete when he died in 1924. Three of his operas - La Bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly - rank among the ten (10) most-produced operas around the world, and most are produced regularly more than a century after they were written. Despite his popularity, however, Puccini has also faced charges at home and abroad that his later works were theatrically shallow, dramatically overwrought and musically second-rate. This session follows Puccini's entire career, introducing all of the operas and exploring the factors that have given rise to the disconnect between his popular acceptance and the sometimes-harsh critical response.