Il Trittico, Turandot, and Puccini's Late Style

Il Trittico, Turandot, and Puccini's Late Style

Andrew Davis
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 09/09/2010
Format: Hardback 33 music exx.
ISBN: 978-0-253-35514-0
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Giacomo Puccini is one of the most frequently performed and best loved of all operatic composers. In Il Trittico, Turandot, and Puccini's Late Style, Andrew Davis takes on the subject of Puccini's last two works to better understand how the composer creates meaning through the juxtaposition of the conventional and the unfamiliar—situating Puccini in past operatic traditions and modern European musical theater. Davis asserts that hearing Puccini’s late works within the context of la solita forma allows listeners to interpret the composer’s expressive strategies. He examines Puccini’s compositional language, with insightful analyses of melody, orchestration, harmony, voice-leading, and rhythm and meter.

Author Bio

Andrew Davis is Associate Professor of Music Theory and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Houston Moores School of Music.


“Examining one of the most frequently performed and best loved of all operatic composers, this insightful analysis takes on the subject of Puccini's last two works, allowing listeners to interpret the composer's expressive strategies.”

“Conversant in a wide range of disciplines, Davis has contributed an important addition to the field of Puccini studies and 19th-century Italian opera literature. . . . Recommended. ”
 — Choice

“[T]o undertake analyses of four operas in one book is no easy task, but [Davis] accomplishes it adeptly. Despite potential contradictions in the identification of his proposed style characteristics, his analyses are insightful, challenging the reader to hear these operas in new ways. He has made tangible aspects of Puccini’s music dramas that we may take for granted as intuitive, illuminating how dramatic moments move us and interact with the work as a whole.”
 — Music Theory Online

“[I] applaud Davis for his close readings of this much-loved but insufficiently studied repertoire, and for the pluralism of his methodology, which is in keeping with Puccini's seemingly conscious exploration of multiple styles, formal traditions, and harmonic dialects. . . The book deserves a wide readership for the important questions it answers, and for the additional questions it raises that call for further research.Dec 2012”
 — Nineteenth-Century Music Review

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Table of Contents

Note on Scores, Librettos, and Translations

Introduction: Hearing Puccini
1. Stylistic Plurality, Narrative, Levels of Discourse, and Voice
2. The Romantic Style in Late Puccini
3. Expressive Uses of Convention in Il tabarro
4. Formal Multivalence in Suor Angelica
5. Humor and Filmic Effects in the Structure of Gianni Schicchi
6. Puccini's Solution: Integrating the Conventional and Unconventional
Epilogue: Late Style and Puccini


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