• James Waters Classical

Day 334 - Is Puccini the poor man's Verdi?

Absolutely not! OK he didn't inspire the unification of Italy as Verdi is said to have done with the initials of his surname standing for Vittorio Emmanuele Re d'Italia. and he didn't write La Traviata or Va Pensiero. But he was an astonishingly skilled musical dramatist with a gift for characterisation and beautiful vocal writing. All his major operas include drop dead gorgeous hit numbers. Try this lot:


Tosca sets the ill-fated love affair between an operatic prima donna and a painter in the Napoleonic Wars. (Recondit' Armonie, Vissi d'arte, E lucevan le stelle).


La Boheme draws us into Bohemian life in Paris with the tragic death of Rodolfo's lover Mimi (Che gelida manina, si, mi chiamano, Mimi).


In Madama Butterfly we have the heart rending 'Un bel di' as the deserted Butterfly awaits her traitorous lover


And in Turandot we have perhaps the greatest tune of all with 'Nessun Dorma'


'Hats off, a genius' as Schumann said about Chopin. but we should all say about Puccini!

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