The monumental discovery of an unfinished score reveals a composer fascinated with the exoticism of the land down under.

Happy April Fool’s Day! We hope you enjoy reading about our operatic masterpiece as much as we enjoyed concocting the synopsis and details of discovery. Perhaps Puccini would have clicked “Like” on Facebook, too.

The manuscript of a previously unknown, incomplete opera has been authenticated as the work of Giacomo Puccini, Italian music scholars announced yesterday. And even more startling: it’s set in Australia.

La Condannata, meaning “The Condemned One” or “The Convict”, has been unearthed more than a century after it was penned. Written in the composer’s hand, the score was found sewn into the original upholstery of an item of furniture at the Museo Villa Puccini in Torre del Lago, the picturesque town where the maestro spent his days from 1891 onwards. The remarkable discovery was made when the seating upholstery was being restored last month.

Musicologist and Puccini specialist Antonio del Imbrogliare oversaw the authentication process and believes the...