Puccini Companion

Overview

The operas of Giacomo Puccini are regularly performed throughout the world, enthusiastically attended by an adoring public. In this book, William Weaver, distinguished writer on musical subjects and translator of Italian prose, joins forces with Simonetta Puccini, granddaughter of the great composer, to bring together a fascinating selection of articles and photographs concerning Puccini's life and works. Simonetta Puccini has contributed as essay full of intimate details about her family; William Weaver ...
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1994 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 436 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

The operas of Giacomo Puccini are regularly performed throughout the world, enthusiastically attended by an adoring public. In this book, William Weaver, distinguished writer on musical subjects and translator of Italian prose, joins forces with Simonetta Puccini, granddaughter of the great composer, to bring together a fascinating selection of articles and photographs concerning Puccini's life and works. Simonetta Puccini has contributed as essay full of intimate details about her family; William Weaver addresses the question of Puccini's spectacular talent for dramaturgy. In addition, Julian Budden writes on Puccini's experiences in Lucca and Milan as a young musician, Harvey Sachs explores Puccini's intimate musical relationship with Arturo Toscanini, and Arthur Groos compares the depictions of East-West tensions in the different versions of the libretto for Madama Butterfly. Mary Jane Phillips-Matz describes the creation of La fanciulla del West vis-a-vis the composer's excursions to the United States, Leonardo Pinzauti examines the startling musical language of Il trittico, and William Ashbrook discusses the genesis and early history of La rondine. Michael Kaye considers Puccini's nonoperatic works, and David Hamilton, through a study of early Puccini recording, outlines transitions in performance style from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. This lively and informative collection touches upon all of the master's operas and also offers select bibliographies, a chronology, and a dramatis personae of the countless people who participated in Puccini's career.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Weaver, noted translator and music writer, and Puccini, granddaughter of Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) and editor of two volumes of his letters, here present a wide-ranging collection of essays by music historians, critics and scholars who delve into various aspects of the composer's life and work. The high level of scholarship and readability of these pieces distinguish this volume, replete with insights into Puccini's musical development, his working methods, the evolution of his operatic characters and his relationships with his collaborators. Among the contributors are Harvey Sachs, who describes the composer's long friendship with the conductor Arturo Toscanini; Arthur Groos, who examines the genesis of Madame Butterfly and shows how Puccini and his librettists differed over the complex character of Pinkerton; and Mary Jane Phillips-Matz, who explores Puccini's representation of American frontier life in La fanciulla del West. Annotated bibliographies, a chronology of Puccini's life, a dramatis personae of the people who were important throughout his career, and an appendix with plot summaries enhance the book. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
John Shreffler
Puccini's operas are staples of the repertoire, regularly performed to an addicted public that, even after nearly 100 years, still clamors for "La Boheme", "Tosca", "Turandot", and "Madama Butterfly". To that audience, this companion will be most welcome. It's a lively collection of articles by an assortment of top musicologists, music critics, and opera lovers whose coverage ranges from Puccini's early efforts at a symphonic style to the modernist implications of his final opus, the aforementioned "Turandot". All the essays are thoroughgoing yet unpedantic, and together they manage to cover some aspect of each of his operas as well as several other topics, including his family background and general biography, his musical education, and the early manners of performing of his works. The editors conclude the volume with useful bibliographies, chronologies, plot summaries of individual works, and a directory of people involved with Puccini. Since many first come to classical music through a performance of a Puccini opera, this book might be of value to almost any library.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393029307
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.42 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
The Puccini Family 3
The Musical World of the Young Puccini 39
Le Villi, Edgar, and the "Symphonic Element" 61
Puccini's Manon and His Other Heroines 111
Manon, Mimi, Artu 122
La Jeunesse Qui N'a Qu'un Temps: La Boheme and Its Origins 142
Tosca and Pessimism 154
Lieutenant F. B. Pinkerton: Problems in the Genesis and Performance of Madama Butterfly 169
Puccini's America 202
Giacomo Puccini's Trittico and the Twentieth Century 228
La Rondine 244
Turandot and the Theatrical Aesthetics of the Twentieth Century 265
The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini 279
Early Puccini Performance: A Condition of Transition 303
Puccini: A Bibliographical Sketch 315
A Select Bibliography of Articles and Dissertations About Puccini and His Operas 327
A Chronology of Puccini's Life and Works 335
Appendix A: Dramatis Personae 359
Appendix B: First Performances of Puccini Operas 387
Appendix C: Plot Summaries 393
Index 413
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