Puccini by Mary Jane Phillips-Matz
A Biography

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



Descended from four generations of distinguished composers and organists, Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) was driven by family tradition and an ambitious mother to pursue a career that brought him worldwide recognition as the greatest composer of Italian opera after Giuseppe Verdi. But behind the brilliant creator of such lasting works as La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Fanciulla del West, La Rondine, and Turandot, there was a person racked with indecision, self-doubt, bouts of depression, and private misfortunes.

In this beautifully written work, Mary Jane Phillips-Matz brings to life both the man and his circle. Setting Puccini's intriguing story within the worlds of his beloved Tuscany and the cutthroat opera business, the author follows the composer from boyhood in his ancestral Lucca, to his struggling student years at the Milan Conservatory, to his early successes and failures, to the artistic triumphs that earned him international celebrity and considerable wealth.

Filled with colorful details and anecdotes drawn from extensive primary sources as well as interviews with descendents, family friends, and colleagues, the book chronicles Puccini's personal sorrows and scandals, and recounts his stormy professional rivalries and associations in England, Europe, and the United States. Phillips-Matz also skillfully untangles the threads of the gifted artist's complex and contradictory character. She reveals a sophisticated composer who often drew upon exotic thematic material and an elegant cosmopolite who loved his several villas, expensive cars, boats, and fine clothes. Yet Puccini remained passionately wedded to the simple life of the Tuscan countryside of his youth.

About Mary Jane Phillips-Matz

See more books from this Author
Mary Jane Phillips-Matz is the author of Rosa Ponselle: American Diva, also published by Northeastern University Press, and the highly praised Verdi: A Biography, which won the Royal Philharmonic Prize, the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, and the New York Governor's Award of Excellence. She served as manager of the Spoleto Festival for several years, and is a regular contributor to Opera News. She lives in New York City. William Weaver is Professor of Literature at Bard College. He is a music critic, author of several books on nineteenth-century Italian opera, and translator of many contemporary Italian writers of fiction. He won the National Book Award for his translation of Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics.
Published October 3, 2002 by Northeastern University Press. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Puccini

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

This year in New York City the Metropolitan Opera and City Opera together have on offer five Puccini productions: two ''Bohèmes,'' ''Butterfly,'' ''Turandot'' and -- something of a rarity now -- the whole of ''Il Trittico.'' Puccini remains a central pillar of opera.

Dec 15 2002 | Read Full Review of Puccini: A Biography

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

The life of Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) has been frequently rehearsed in biographies and sketches, but seldom with the thoroughness that Phillips-Matz, who authored Verdi, the esteemed biography of the other Italian opera master, brings to it.

| Read Full Review of Puccini: A Biography

Project MUSE

Puccini: His Life and Works Julian Budden Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002 527 pages, $40.00 Puccini: A Biography Mary Jane Phillips-Matz Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2002 343 pages, $30.00 Any scholar writing the biography of an opera composer must choose between emphasizing t...

| Read Full Review of Puccini: A Biography

Project MUSE

Fairtile's Giacomo Puccini: A Guide to Research (New York and London, 1999), two journals dedicated to Puccini's operas, and a spate of recent articles which approach the works from a variety of different critical perspectives testifies to the fact that Puccini's suitability for scholarly treatm...

| Read Full Review of Puccini: A Biography

Reader Rating for Puccini

An aggregated and normalized score based on 9 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review