Lived:1858 – 1924
Mostly in:Italy
Best Known For: La Bohème, Manon Lescaut, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Turandot
Similar To:Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Cilea

He set to music tales of artists starving in Paris, a geisha in Nagasaki pining for a love that can never be, and a bandit on the run in the old West of the US, yet for opera lovers all over the world, wherever his works might be set, Puccini epitomises Italian opera, in all its emotionally charged, lavishly frocked, over-the-top glory.

The changes in his musical language mirrored the times. His first big success, Manon Lescaut(1893), was praised for being “Wagnerian” and his final opera, Turandot(premiered posthumously in 1926) is informed by his fascination with the innovations in harmonic language and orchestral timbres he heard in the music of Debussy, Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Yet however the colours of his musical palette changed, he never lost his...