Famous Puccini Operas : An Analytical Guide for the Opera Goer and Armchair Listener
(Patrick Cairns Hughes, Spike Hughes
For the opera-goer and armchair listener alike, here is an analytic guide to Madam Butterfly, La Boheme, Tosca, Manon Lescaut, The Girl of the Golden West, Turandot, along with Puccini's triptych of shorter operas--written by a British music critic, conductor, and composer, who focuses on the music, yet is not overly technical. 245 musical illustrations.
(20th-Century Composers Series - Conrad Wilson
The latest in Phaidon Press Limited's fine 20th Century Composers series, this biography plows ground that's already been gone over many times, but does so very well. Like the rest of the books in this series, it's aimed at the more-than-casual but less-than-expert reader, and puts the composer's life and art into perspective, assisted by assorted photographs. This is a particularly good starting place for someone captured by Puccini's music dramas who's interested in how it all came about. There are no musical examples, which can be a positive or a negative depending on one's point of view and whether one reads music. New listeners may find the overly brief discography in the back of the book a useful guide.
Madame Butterfly: Japonisme, Puccini, & the Search for the Real Cho-Cho-San
(Jan Van Rij
Long before Puccini wrote his masterpiece, the tale of the poor Japanese girl abandoned by her foreign lover had been taken up by numerous Western writers as part of the wave of Japonisme in late 19th-century Europe. But was there a "real" Madame Butterfly? Following the tragic trail back to its roots in Nagasaki, Jan van Rij believes he's found the answer. Opera lovers will delight in the revelation, and learn not only about the cultural forces and personal fixations that inspired this popular work but why many Japanese remain unconvinced.
Talks With Great Composers
(Arthur M. Abell)
Between 1890 and 1917, Abell engaged in lengthy, candid conversations with the greatest composers of his day--Johannes Brahms, Giacomo Puccini, Richard Strauss, Engelbert Humperdinck, Max Brunch, and Evard Grieg--about the intellectual, psychic, and spiritual tensions of their creative endeavors. This book is the result of those conversations, and is, quite simply, a masterpiece that reveals the agony, triumphs, and the religiosity inherent in the creative mind.