17. February 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Quotes

In assigning Puccini his rightful place among great composers of opera, one cannot compare him directly with such earlier masters as Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti or the Verdi of Rigoletto, and Trovatore. The customs of writing were then very much different. They had a secco. In other words when the action bogged down or the librettist was in a quandary what to do next, he would simply stop, have the character speak some lines that developed the story—which could be put to any conventional musical line—and then the composer would write an aria. If the quality of the inspiration was great, as almost always with Mozart, or sometimes in Rossini, what happened in between was unimportant. But when the scheme of writing a consecutive musical texture was introduced, the problem became very much greater. It is for this reason that I rate Puccini so highly. He achieved a synthesis of word, music and action that is not only highly appropriate to the subject and easy to assimilate, but also, in the end, very satisfying.

-Sir Thomas Beecham
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