Giacomo Puccini's operas are among the most widely performed in the world, and include such masterpieces as "La Boheme", "Tosca" and "Madama Butterfly". Yet although critical studies of individual operas have appeared, very few books have examined Puccini's works as a whole from an analytical perspective. Michele Girardi remedies this lack, providing detailed analyses of all of Puccini's operas, complete with 196 musical examples. Writing in clear and lively prose accessible to scholar and passionate opera enthusiast alike, Girardi considers Puccini's musical and dramatic techniques together, demonstrating how his manipulation of dense networks of themes, sophisticated harmonic techniques and masterly orchestrations work to arouse the audience's emotions. Girardi also discusses the question of Puccini's assimilation of influences from composers as diverse as Verdi, Wagner, Bizet, Richard Strauss, Debussy and Stravinsky, showing how Puccini attempted to reconcile Italian techniques with those of European musical theatre as a whole to make Italian opera a truly international art.
Michele Girardi is associate professor of musicology and the history of contemporary music at the University of Pavia, Italy. He was awarded the "Massimo Mila" prize, given to the best monograph on music published in Italy between 1993 and 1996, for the Italian edition of this book.