The Operas of Puccini

Giacomo Puccini, who died 100 years ago this year, remains one of the most popular composers of Italian opera. While nowhere near as prolific as Rossini, Donizetti, or Verdi, five of his ten operas are always in production somewhere in the world. Puccini is the greatest master of the verismo (realism) style that sought to portray reality rather than mythology or kings and queens. Drawing from the verismo settings, Puccini’s music evokes strong emotional responses. This seminar will look at his “big three” operas – La Bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly – along with his final unfinished opera Turandot and the lesser-known transitional works between Butterfly and Turandot.

Group Leader: Benjamin Sears & Bradford Conner
Venue: The Engineering Center
Meets on: Wednesday 3:30 to 5:30 PM
Starting: 10/9/2024
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 24
Teaching Style: Lecture with questions
Weekly Preparation: None
Group Leader Biography:

Bradford Conner and Benjamin Sears have been performing together since 1989 and lecture regularly on the music they perform. Conner and Sears are leading scholars of Irving Berlin, having recorded six CDs of his songs and contributed articles to numerous scholarly publications about Berlin and other Great American Songbook songwriters. Sears, a graduate of Ithaca College and editor of The Irving Berlin Reader, wrote a chapter in Adapting the Wizard of Oz: Musical Versions from Baum to MGM and Beyond, and is in the early stages of developing The Fred Astaire Reader. A graduate of West Virginia University, Conner also studied at the University of Salzburg (Austria) and the American College of Salzburg. A “Renaissance Individual” with degrees in business, musicology, and foreign language, he has lectured and written on his interests in music and world history. Both opera and history lovers, Conner and Sears have taught numerous courses at Beacon Hill Seminars and are recipients of the Jack Curtin Award.