Shostakovich said to Britten that Puccini “wrote marvellous operas, but dreadful music.” Discuss!

The discussion is thrown open this morning.

Personally rather fond of Puccini’s ‘Gloria’ (this view is the view of the author rather than ECO!) second thought: separation of ‘music’ from ‘opera’

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One thought on “Shostakovich said to Britten that Puccini “wrote marvellous operas, but dreadful music.” Discuss!

  1. Puccini strikes me as a easy target for this kind of critique, and one feels that it is the romantic ideal that is being criticised here. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that great opera and music need not be mutually exclusive, but with Puccini it is hard to seperate them. However, in Butterfly, as my colleague Paul has pointed out in his great post, the story is very simple; it’s the music that sustains the opera for the duration, both for the audience and players. The music itself is also uncomplicated in many ways but incredibly memorable. It also manages to avoid being cringeworthy in its appropriation of ‘eastern’ influence to paint the picture, no easy feat! Shostakovich wrote 5 operas, with lady Macbeth being the only one widely performed and recognised. Perhaps history has already judged the quality of Puccini’s music?

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