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Te Songs of Giacomo Puccini
Laurie Domingue Lester
Florida State University
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Lester, Laurie Domingue, "Te Songs of Giacomo Puccini" (2007). Electronic Teses, Treatises and Dissertations. Paper 3113.





A Treatise submitted to the
College of Music
In partial fulfillment of the
Requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Music

Degree Awarded:
Fall Semester, 2007


The members of the Committee approve the treatise of Laurie Domingue Lester on October 4,

Stanford Olsen
Professor directing treatise

Jane Piper Clendinning
Outside Committee Member

Douglas Fisher
Committee Member

The office of Graduate Studies has verified and approved the above named committee members.


First, I would like to thank Professor Stanford Olsen for his guidance and support during
my time at Florida State University and beyond. I would also like to express my thanks to the
members of my committee, past and present, Dr. Jerrold Pope, Larry Gerber, Douglas Fisher,
and Dr. Jane Clendinning, for their time and help on this treatise.
My parents, Ed and Annette Domingue, have been a constant source of support and
encouragement throughout my education. Thank you for travelling to and attending the many
recitals and performances over the years, as well as always encouraging me to continue
developing my musical talents.
Finally, I would like to express my deepest thanks to my husband, Jason. Thank you for
your encouragement, patience, and continuous support during this time. You have been there for
everything and I have enjoyed sharing each step of this journey with you, and I look forward to
where the road leads us next.



List of Examples v
Abstract vii

4. SONGS FROM 1888-1899 19
5. PUCCINI’S SONGS FROM 1902-1919 30



2.1 Puccini “A te” (1875) 5
2.2 Puccini “La Primavera” (1880) 6
3.1 Puccini “Salve Regina” (1882) 11
3.2 Puccini “Ad una morta!” (1883) 13
3.3 Puccini “Storiella d’amore” (1883) 15
3.4 Puccini “Mentia l’avviso” (1883) 17
3.5 Puccini “Mentia l’avviso” (1883) 18
4.1 Puccini “Sole e amore” (1888) 21
4.2 Puccini “Ave Maria Leopolda” (1896) 22
4.3 Puccini “Avanti, Urania!” (1896) 25
4.4 Puccini “Inno a Diana” (1897) 26
4.5 Puccini “E l’uccellino” (1899) 28
5.1 Puccini “Terra e mare” (1902) 31
5.2 Puccini “Canto d’anime” (1904) 33
5.3 Puccini “Casa mia, casa mia” (1908) 35

5.4 Puccini “Sogno d’or” (1912) 36
5.5 Puccini “Morire?” (1917) 38
5.6 Puccini “Inno a Roma” (1919) 40
6.1 Puccini “Angiol di Dio” (1883) 42
6.2 Puccini “Donna non vidi mai” (1893) 43
6.3 Puccini “Dunque è proprio finita” (1896) 45
6.4 Puccini “Paris, ja das ist die Stadt” (1920) 46



The purpose of this paper is to examine the songs for solo voice with piano
accompaniment by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), observing the composer’s evolving
compositional style, as well as the songs’ place in the modern voice studio. Puccini’s seventeen
songs can be divided into four periods in his life: the early years from 1875-1880, the Milan
Conservatory years of 1880-1884, songs from 1888-1899, and his final song period from 1902-
1919. Puccini’s songs vary widely in their level of difficulty and ranges, and they can be used as
useful tools in the voice studio to address many issues a vocal student might face. Although
Puccini is known for the beautiful melodies from his twelve operas, many of which continue to
be part of the standard repertoire today, several of those melodies were first used in his songs
before he included them in his operas. This paper also examines Puccini’s practice of
borrowing source material from his previously composed songs for use in his operas.



Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924), known worldwide as an accomplished composer of
operas and renowned for his beautiful melodies and great soprano heroines, also wrote lesser-
known songs of varying quality for solo voice throughout his life. While Puccini wrote twelve
operas, many of which continue to be performed today in the standard repertoire, his solo voice
compositions are virtually unknown. These compositions include songs, fragments of songs,
liturgical pieces, arias, and some early duets. Some of these songs are known and have been
recorded by various artists, while others are more obscure. Still others have become known only
since the beginning of the twenty-first century. In this paper, the author will examine the solo
songs written for voice with piano accompaniment, considering their artistic and technical merit
and whether or not they deserve a place in the modern vocal studio. In so doing, the author will
employ scores that have been available for many years and additional sources that have become
known as recently as 2004, including fragments of songs previously thought lost and the full
realizations by Puccini scholars of songs that previously had incomplete accompaniment.
In order to organize this material in a sensible fashion, the author has chosen to divide
Puccini‟s seventeen extant songs chronologically into four separate periods. These coincide,
respectively, with his childhood and youth in Lucca, his early years in Milan, the years that
correspond with the premieres of some of his successful operas, and his mature style period.

The first period includes works Puccini composed as a young man living in Lucca, Italy from
1875 to 1880. This period includes the one early extant song, a duet, and a recently discovered
song. In the second period, there are Puccini‟s compositions as a student in Milan before his first
opera, Le Villi, premiered on May 31, 1884. These compositions include more sophisticated and
extended songs for various voice types as well as incidental music written for a melodrama and a
liturgical piece. A third compositional period from 1888 to 1899, includes five songs, several of
which were composed for or dedicated to friends. The final period coincides with Puccini‟s
mature-style period, composed at his villa in Torre del Lago between 1902 and 1919. Songs

Michael Kaye, introduction to The Unknown Puccini (New York, Oxford University Press, 1987), p.xiii.

from this period were written while Puccini was recognized as an accomplished composer of
opera and include pieces he wrote to benefit a particular organization or city.
It is well-documented that Puccini borrowed from melodies he had previously written in
other works and re-used them later in his operas. In order to effectively compare Puccini‟s songs
with his operatic self-borrowing, I have chosen to print excerpts from piano/vocal scores instead
of full scores, as the piano reduction will display the similarities to the original song more
concisely and legibly. Chapter 6 will discuss those borrowings with references and examples,
including the use of the above mentioned excerpts.


Puccini’s Early Years (1875–1880)

Puccini‟s earliest songs date from 1875 to 1880, when he was still living in his hometown
of Lucca. In 1876, at the age of eighteen, Puccini and a friend walked from Lucca to Pisa,
approximately eleven miles away, to see a performance of Giuseppe Verdi‟s Aida.
After that
performance, Puccini recognized the passion of his life and decided to break from the family
tradition of four generations of church musicians to pursue opera.

The first period includes two early solo songs, “A te” and “La primavera,” and two
duets: “Vexilla a due voci,” for tenor and bass voice, was written around 1878, and “Beata
viscera” for soprano and alto voice, was written around 1875.
As this paper will only be
discussing Puccini‟s songs for solo voice, these duets will not be examined in this document.
Based on an anonymous poem, “A te” (To you) is thought to have been Puccini‟s first
song, written in 1875 during his student days at the Istituto Musicale Pacini in Lucca.
presented the manuscript of this song to the Istituto Musicale Pacini in 1901. “A te” is a song
for solo voice with piano accompaniment on the theme of love. The poetry describes a restless,
anxious lover who desires a kiss that would enable him to forget everything. Although Puccini
himself did not specify for which voice type this song was written, the Boccaccini and Spada
Edition of 1996 indicates the song should be performed by a soprano or tenor.
The range of this
song in the score is A3 to F#5, suggesting that it might be more appropriate for a mezzo-soprano
or baritone (singing an octave lower), as a low voiced singer could access the multiple pitches
written below C4 more easily than a tenor or soprano.
“A te” lies mainly between F4 to D5;

Gabriela Biagi Ravenni and Michele Girardi, “Giacomo Puccini,” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music
and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, vol. 15 (New York: Macmillan, 1994), p. 567.


Michael Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 13.

Giacomo Puccini, introduction to Songs for Voice and Piano, ed. Michael Kaye (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1988), p. iv.

Giacomo Puccini, “A Te,” ed. Pietro Spada (Rome: Boccaccini & Spada, 1996).


this tessitura is another indicator that it might be better suited for a low-voiced singer, one
generally more comfortable remaining on the bottom portion of the treble staff than a soprano or
At three and a half minutes and one hundred measures, this is one of Puccini‟s longer
“A te” can be divided into four sections, beginning with a four part hymn-like
accompaniment that seems musically unrelated to the rest of the song. The second section
begins with the first vocal entrance, as the right hand of the accompaniment plays repeated
chords and the left hand plays an octave pedal. The third section of “A te” starts at the più
mosso in measure sixty-five, where the time signature changes from 3/4 to 4/4 and the
accompaniment pattern changes to an ostinato rhythmic pattern in the left hand with syncopated
chords in the right hand. The final section begins in measure eighty-four with a tremolo in the
accompaniment for the final fifteen measures of the song, alluding to the text‟s “Give me a kiss
that will make me forget the entire world!” The tremolo helps to symbolize the poet‟s fears and
worries of the world, which he knows will be forgotten after this magical kiss. Example 2.1
demonstrates the meter and accompaniment changes from the second section into the third
With regard to the vocal studio, “A te” is appropriate for an undergraduate voice
student. Puccini often includes the pitch of the vocal melody in the chord on downbeats of
measures or in the right hand of the accompaniment. “A te” is quite long, but it doubles the
vocal line throughout most of the song, and the highest note is at the top of the staff. As
mentioned above, there are several instances when there are notes in this song below the staff as
well, and so “A te” might be a good exercise for students who are working to facilitate the
transition between vocal registers.

All of Puccini‟s songs are scored in the treble clef. The pitch names used in this treatise refer to his
scores, but it is entirely acceptable for a male voice to sing the songs an octave lower.

For the purposes of this paper, tessitura means the pitch range that most often occurs within a given

Example 2.1 Puccini “A te,” measures 61-70. Page 6.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

There is very little information concerning the other song from this period “La
Primavera” (Spring). The first publication of “La Primavera” was not until 2004, when the
leading Puccini song expert Michael Kaye received the song from Maestro Herbert Handt of
Composition of this song most likely occurred in 1880 with a text that is probably by

Giacomo Puccini, Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano, ed. Michael Kaye (Boca Raton:
Masters Music Publications, Inc., 2004) preface.


“La Primavera” is in the key of F major with a range of C4 to G5. In the bass line of the
accompaniment, a fragmented ostinato pattern occurs three times, while there are never more
than three pitches played at one time in the accompaniment, and a delicate melodic line that
repeats three times. “La Primavera” is forty-five measures long and has a text about a farmer
tending to his crop in the spring. Example 2.2 shows a repeating pattern in the left hand of the
accompaniment, repeated pitches in the voice part, as well as the limited range.

Example 2.2 Puccini “La Primavera,” measures 6-23. Page 4.
Source: Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Masters Music
Publications. Boca Raton, Florida, 2004.

Giacomo Puccini, Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano, ed. Michael Kaye (Boca
Raton: Masters Music Publications, Inc., 2004) preface.

“La Primavera” is a simple, modified strophic song that is appropriate for a
beginning voice student. The repetitious melody in this song is helpful for a young voice
student, although the accompaniment does not double the voice part, thus making it somewhat
more challenging. Although the high note is G5, the majority of the pitches lie within the treble
staff, thus making it a suitable song to work a singer‟s middle voice. There are several instances
where the text is set to repeated pitches, giving the teacher an opportunity to work on vowel


The Milan Conservatory Period (1880–1884)

The second period of song composition for voice occurred from 1880 to 1884 during
Puccini‟s years at the Milan Conservatory. Puccini, bitten by the opera bug after he saw a
performance of Aida in 1876, waited anxiously for the next four years before he was able to
attend the Milan Conservatory.
When Puccini entered the conservatory at the age of twenty-
two, he was well over the age limit for admission, but he was allowed into the senior
composition class because of his strong performance on the entrance exams.
His education
there was made possible through a scholarship given by Queen Margherita and financial support
from an uncle, Dr. Nicolao Cerù.
While at the Milan Conservatory, Puccini studied
composition with the well-known Conservatory professor and eventual director of the
Conservatory Antonio Bazzini, and the opera composer Amilcare Ponchielli.
A few of
Puccini‟s compositions from this period were assignments for his teachers or requirements to
graduate from the conservatory.
While Puccini was studying at the conservatory, the Teatro Illustrato of April 1, 1883
announced a competition for the best one-act opera, sponsored by the wealthy Milan
businessman, Edoardo Sonzogno.
There were nine months between the announcement of the
competition and the deadline for submission, December 31, 1883.
Puccini began working
intensely on his first opera, Le Willis, which was later Italianized to Le Villi.
Puccini did not
finish the composition until the deadline day and did not have time to make a legible copy for the

Gabrilella Biagi Ravenni and Mosco Carner, “Giacomo Puccini,” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music
and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, vol. 20 (New York: Macmillan, 2001), p. 431.

Julian Budden, “Giacomo Puccini,” in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie, vol. 3
(New York: Macmillan, 1992), p. 1167.

Ravenni and Carner, p. 431.


Mosco Carner, Puccini: A Critical Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 38.


Ibid., p. 40.

In early 1884, the results of the competition were announced: Guglielmo Zuelli and Luigi
Manzoni were named the winners and split the prize money.
Despite this setback, Puccini,
along with the librettist for Le Villi, Ferdinando Fontana, and Puccini‟s teacher, Ponchielli, began
to promote the opera to Milan‟s salons and the societal elite. Through these efforts, Puccini was
invited to play excerpts from his opera in the home of Marco Sala, a wealthy member of Milan
society. Puccini‟s music was so well received that a collection was made that night to fund the
production of this young composer‟s first opera.
On May 31, 1884, Puccini‟s first opera, Le
Villi, premiered at Teatro Dal Verme in Milan and was deemed an instant success.

Modern scholarship has documented four compositions for solo voice from this period.
They are “Salve Regina,” “Ad una morta,” “Storiella d’amore,” and “Mentia l’avviso,” with
the first three to texts by Antonio Ghislanzoni (1824-1893), who was the librettist for Verdi‟s
Aida and La forza del destino. The last song is to a text by Felice Romani (1788-1865), librettist
for Bellini‟s I capuleti e i montecchi, La sonnambula, Norma, and Anna Bolena, as well as
Donizetti‟s L’elisir d’amore.
“Salve Regina” (Hail, Queen of Heaven), composed over a period of months in late
1882 and 1883, is a song written for soprano using a Ghislanzoni text of praise and adoration for
the virgin Mary. The text is not related to the traditional office hymn with the same title.
song for soprano and organ or harmonium is written in the key of F major. Consisting of thirty-
five measures, “Salve Regina” has a range from D4 to F5 and a tessitura from F4 to D5. While
the score specifies that this song is for soprano and organ (or harmonium), Puccini scholar
Michael Kaye states that it also can be performed successfully using piano accompaniment.

Puccini gave the manuscript for this song to the Isituto Musicale Luigi Boccherini in Lucca.

Mosco Carner, Puccini: A Critical Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 38.


Carner, p. 41.

Ibid., p. 43.

Michael Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” in The Puccini Companion, ed. William
Weaver (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 1994), p. 286.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 28.


“Salve Regina” begins with an extended prelude, which conjures up images of a religious
procession. The opening vocal phrase, set to the word “salve,” is essentially an ascending
arpeggio representing a prayer as it ascends to Mary in Heaven. The strength and simplicity of
the phrase lends a sense of reverence and awe as the vocal melody is supported by a simple
accompaniment that doubles the melody. The following phrase contains some grace notes,
which might seem somewhat operatic and ostentatious for a religious work. Overall, the phrase
lengths in “Salve Regina” are rather short, with the typical duration lasting four to six beats.
There is not an interlude in this song, nor are there extended rests for the vocalist. Once the song
begins, it gives the impression of a prayer in progress. The final phrase is sung in a strict
pattern of quarter notes, rather than the varying eighth notes and sixteenth notes in the preceding
phrases, which often began as pick-up notes. The solidity of the final phrase gives an impression
of strength and power as it ascends with a crescendo. The song is then repeated in its entirety.
Example 3.1 displays the opening phrase with the aforementioned grace notes. One can also see
the interaction between the accompaniment and the voice. When the vocal line has sixteenth
notes, the accompaniment is static with sustained chords and vice versa when the
accompaniment moves in a sixteenth-note fashion.
Some text painting can be found throughout the song. For example, the highest note in
the vocal line, which occurs twice, is set to the word “sventura,” which means unfortunate,
possibly signifying the Biblical message that the low will be exalted. When Puccini sets the
word “benedici,” there is a descending vocal line representing the blessings coming down from
Mary. This imagery of position returns on the word “sguardo” where Mary glances down to
sanctify those on Earth.
Considering the range and tessitura of “Salve Regina,” as well as how the accompaniment
doubles the vocal line for half of the song, this song would be appropriate for an undergraduate
singer. The song does require the singer to sing notes at the top of or above the staff, F5 and G5,
but has a light accompaniment in those sections, allowing the vocalist to sing those phrases
without undue stress on the mechanism.
Puccini reused the melody from “Salve Regina” as the primary source material for the
prayer “Angiol di Dio, che i vanno rivolgi al ciel stasera” in Act I of Le Villi, as the author will
discuss in Chapter 6.


Example 3.1 Puccini “Salve Regina,” measures 9-21. Page 20-21.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

“Ad una morta!” (To a Dead Woman!) is a lament that was composed in the spring of
1883 to another text by Ghislanzoni, written for baritone and piano.
Puccini hoped the song

Puccini, Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano, notes.

would be published during his lifetime, but it was not.
The entire manuscript of Puccini‟s song
was discovered only recently and is preserved at Harvard University, although some musical
fragments had previously been archived.
Michael Kaye, a scholar on Puccini‟s songs, as well
as publisher Pietro Spada, have both created performance versions of this song with their own
accompaniment in places where the original manuscript is lacking the piano part.
“Ad una morta!” begins in the key of E-flat minor and ends in the key of E-flat major. It
has a range from Eb3 to G4 and is forty-nine measures long. Although this song is indicated for
baritone and was originally written in bass clef, the high tessitura requires a baritone who is very
comfortable with his upper register or possibly a lyric tenor. In the Boccaccini & Spada edition,
the vocalist is required to sing either an F4 or G4 on nine occasions. The Kaye edition includes
additional fragments that require the singer to repeat phrases containing these high pitches,
resulting in a more challenging edition, which has been printed in treble clef and indicated for
baritone or mezzo-soprano.
In this song, Puccini uses a triplet figure in either the vocal line or the accompaniment on
the downbeat of almost every measure. One repeating melodic motive in this song is an
ascending minor scalar triplet that seems to be connected with the idea of how the performer
thinks of the dead woman often and wonders if she thinks of him. The highest pitch of most
phrases in “Ad una morta!” often occurs toward the end of the phrase, giving this song a
passionate quality. As the text refers to one‟s beloved ascending to heaven, the song portrays a
reflective, meditative disposition supported by its minor tonality. The abrupt change to E-flat
major immediately precedes the text stating his hope that his beloved thinks of him while in
heaven as much as he thinks of her. In this major section, the triplet figure changes to a
descending scalar pattern on the word ripensi, which refers to his beloved in heaven thinking of
him. This haunting melody seems more significant than the melodies Puccini composed for
many of his other songs. This is substantiated by Puccini‟s reusing part of the music in his
operas Le Villi and Manon Lescaut. Example 3.2 shows the high tessitura required for a
baritone, as well as the triplet motive occurring on the downbeat of each measure.

Puccini, Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano, notes.


Example 3.2 Puccini “Ad una morta!,” measures 28-35. Page 8.
Source: Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Masters Music
Publications. Boca Raton, Florida, 2004.

When one considers assigning this song to a student, the tessitura of “Ad una morta!”
would require either a tenor voice or a mature baritone voice with ease and facility in the upper
part of his range. In addition, the accompaniment does not double the vocal line, which would
not help a young singer to feel comfortable with the extended range. Because of these factors,
this song would be more appropriate for a graduate level male singer.
Composed on June 8, 1883, Puccini‟s “Storiella d’amore” (Little Story of Love) is set to
another text by Ghislanzoni.
This was Puccini‟s first published work, appearing in the musical
appendix to La Musica Popolare on October 4, 1883.
The text recounts the mutual amorous
feelings of the characters Paolo da Verrucchio and Francesca da Rimini as they read from

Budden, p. 32.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 290.

Lancelot of the Lake, a French romance.
The text is an adaptation by Ghislanzoni of an episode
from Dante Aligheri‟s Divine Comedy. Although the text is gender specific from the man‟s
perspective, Puccini did not indicate a specific voice type; therefore, it would be appropriate for
both genders and has been recorded by both.
“Storiella d’amore” has a large pitch range of C#4 to A5, spanning an octave and a sixth,
and a tessitura of F4 to D5. This D major, strophic song, consisting of two verses, also contains
a postlude that hints of a third verse. The piano accompaniment occasionally features the
melody played in the left hand in unison with the vocal line, while the right hand plays chords in
a syncopated rhythm. Within this song, Puccini uses performance instructions, tempo
indications, and dynamic markings more frequently than he had in his previous songs. Some of
these instructions and indications include rolled chords, staccati, asymmetrical phrasing,
extensive crescendos and decrescendos, tenuto markings, and specific tempo indications not only
within phrases, but also between sections.
Following a lengthy prelude, the vocal melody enters and contains several scale-like
passages with a few large leaps up or down the staff. Beginning with “noi leggevamo insieme”
in measure thirty-three, the vocal line begins a chromatic ascent from A4 to D5, which is
followed by a leap of a fifth up to A5, accompanied by a quick crescendo as the text describes
her wavy hair touching his face. In the phrases preceding this section, the accompaniment
features constant eighth-note motion in the left hand while the pianist‟s right hand doubles the
vocal melody. This piano part‟s texture suddenly changes to syncopated quarter notes in the
right hand of the piano part and a more melodic left hand part constructed of quarter and eighth
notes, representing the stifled passion that is released in the next phrase, which culminates in the
highest note of the song, as seen in example 3.3.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 290.

Example 3.3 Puccini “Storiella d’amore,” measures 28-37. Page 33.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

“Storiella d’amore” has a wide pitch range and requires ease in accessing notes above the
staff, although most of the high notes are sung on eighth-note durations. This song is strophic,
which would make learning it less challenging, and has a scale-like melody. Considering these
attributes, this song would be appropriate for an upper-level undergraduate singer or a graduate-

level singer. Puccini borrows eleven measures of “Storiella d’amore” for the Act III trio “Bella
Signora” from his second opera Edgar, which will be discussed in Chapter 6.
“Mentia l’avviso” (The Warning Was False) was composed on June 10, 1883 to text
from the libretto of Felice Romani‟s melodrama La solitaria delle Asturie, ossia La Spagna
Romani‟s popular libretto was first set to music by Carlo Coccia and premiered at
La Scala in 1838; it was set by several composers after Coccia.
The excerpt Puccini chose to
set comes from the melodrama’s Act IV, scene ii. “Mentia l’avviso” calls for tenor voice and
piano, and is more than a song; it is a recitative and aria for a character that Puccini designates as
Gusmano. In Romani‟s play, Gusmano is a captain in the Moorish army, who is later
discovered to be the traitor, Count Giuliano. Act IV, scene ii occurs in a large cave in the valley
of Ausena. The Moorish soldiers enter the cave with torches led by Gusmano and Manuza,
another captain. After they sing a short chorus, the soldiers and Manuza exit the cave, leaving
Gusmano alone for a meeting with the ghost of his supposedly dead daughter.
It is at this point
in the melodrama that Puccini‟s recitative and aria, “Mentia l’avviso,” begins. The connection
between the libretto and the aria is evident by Gusmano‟s reference to Ausena and the ghostly
sounds. The aria exists in two versions; both are preserved at the Milan Conservatory.
In the version published by Michael Kaye, the wide range of “Mentia l’avviso” is from
Eb4 to Bb5 with a tessitura from A4 to F5. Puccini‟s scena in F minor is divided into two
distinct sections. These sections are identified by their unusual treatments of the accompaniment
and vocal melody. The recitative includes repeated pitches, often in dotted rhythms, which
usually end in a descending interval, thus resulting in a declamatory style of singing. The first
section includes a Verdian approach to the vocal line, including a tremolo accompaniment,
repeated pitches, and declamatory singing, which may have been inspired by the performance of
Aida a few years earlier. This tremolo section is one of only two times Puccini used the
compositional device in his song repertoire. Example 3.4 shows the beginning of the recitative
section with its dotted rhythms and tremolos.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 287.

Budden, p. 33.


Example 3.4 Puccini “Mentia l’avviso,” measures 21-47. Page 24-25.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

The second section, beginning at the second lento marking at measure eighty-two, is
more bel canto in its approach, as the expansive vocal line receives greater prominence over a

simple accompaniment. Music example 3.5 shows the second lento section, which demonstrates
the more extensive vocal line in “Mentia l’avviso.”

Example 3.5 Puccini “Mentia l’avviso,” measures 80-89. Page 28.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

The recitative and aria “Mentia l’avviso” is a challenging composition that includes
passages of unaccompanied recitative and a Bb5 sustained for eight beats and sung fff.
Considering the demanding range and dynamic level required for this piece, this aria would be
appropriate for a graduate level tenor voice that is comfortable with the demands of the Italian
Romantic opera style.
In Chapter 6, the author will discuss Puccini‟s self-borrowing from the aria “Mentia
l’avviso” for use in the tenor aria “Donna non vidi mai” from Manon Lescaut.


Songs from 1888–1899

From 1888 through 1899, Puccini composed five songs, three of which he wrote
especially for friends. During this period, three of his operas premiered: Edgar, Manon Lescaut,
and La Bohème. Edgar, his second opera, was unsuccessful, but his next opera, Manon Lescaut,
was hailed as a success, even after three laborious years of work on the libretto. His next opera,
La Bohème was well received by the audience, but generally dismissed by critics. The five songs
from this 11-year period are “Sole e amore,” which can be described as the seed for La
Bohème,; “Ave Maria Leopolda!,” a letter set to music; the boat song, “Avanti, Urania!,”; the
hunter‟s song, “Inno a Diana”; and the lullaby, “E l’uccellino.”
“Sole e amore” (Sun and Love) was composed in 1888, probably on March 1.
author of the text is unknown, although Kaye believes Puccini may have written it himself.

Kaye also believes that the well-known sonnet “Mattinata” (Morning) of the Rime Nuove by
Giosue Carducci inspired the text because Puccini subtitled this song “Mattinata.”
“Sole e
amore” was published in Genoa in the musical supplement to Paganini magazine in 1888.
Camilo Sivori, a friend of Giuseppe Verdi, published Paganini magazine, which was issued from
1887 to 1892.
Sivori was a violinist who had studied with the famous violinist and teacher,
Niccolò Paganini, and Sivori modeled his playing style after Paganini. In the original
manuscript, the last line of the text was “Il primo di Marzo dell’ ottanotto,” which means “the
first of March „88.”
This has led scholars to believe it was composed on March 1, 1888.

However, when “Sole e amore” was published for the first time, the last line was changed to “al
Paganini, G. Puccini.” This means “To Paganini, from G. Puccini,” both a literal dedication to

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 290.


Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 55.


Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 55


the magazine and a nod to the great violinist. This song is the basis for the Act III quartet in La
Bohème. Ten years after La Bohème premiered, Puccini gave the original manuscript of “Sole e
amore” to his friend, the composer Francesco Paolo Tosti on April 1, 1906.
It is believed that
Puccini did this in honor of Tosti‟s 60
birthday on April 9.
He inscribed the manuscript with
the phrase “questo germe primo di Bohème,” which means “this first germ of Bohème.”

“Sole e amore” is written for soprano and piano in the key of G-flat major. It has a range
from Db4 to Ab5 and is thirty-eight measures long. The tessitura of this well-known tune is
from Gb4 to F5. The text of “Sole e amore” describes the sun tapping on your window and love
tapping on your heart. The accompaniment of “Sole e amore” is mostly a fragile partner to the
singer. Except for four measures, the accompaniment is marked pianissimo or piano. Puccini
deploys a triplet figure in his melody, which breaks up the strong duple feeling of the
accompaniment, giving the song a heartfelt, passionate mood.
Puccini employs different musical characteristics in his accompaniment for the text‟s
descriptions of the sun and love, respectively. The first six measures talk about the sun with a
delicate, thin accompaniment, which includes staccati and grace notes. The first five measures
of the accompaniment are a repeat of the first measure four times. The text then mentions love
in measure seven, where the accompaniment becomes thicker, passionate, and more lyrical,
using rolled chords and syncopation. This seems to hint at what is to come later in the song at
the height of its passion. In measure seven, the singer says “amor” before the accompaniment
changes to the passionate, more lyrical texture, which seems to show that the singer is moving
the text and the music forward, as if pulling the accompaniment along with them. Puccini then
ends as he begins, reusing these same five measures at the end of “Sole e amore,” when the first
line of the melody is repeated in measures thirty-two through thirty-five to the words “al
Paganini, G. Puccini.” Example 4.1 shows the familiar melodic line from “Sole e amore,” which
is reused in the Act III quartet of La Bohème.
“Sole e amore” would be an appropriate song choice for an undergraduate voice
student who is comfortable singing an Ab5 with a crescendo to a forte dynamic level. While
“Sole e amore” is the same melody used in the La Bohème quartet, the piano accompaniment is

Budden, p. 64.


Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 291.

mostly light and delicate; therefore, the singer would not require as large a voice as the opera
roles demand.

Example 4.1 Puccini “Sole e amore,” measures 1-16. Page 36.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

Puccini borrows from the song “Sole e amore” as the source for the Act III quartet in La
Bohème. This will be discussed further in Chapter 6.
“Ave Maria Leopolda!” (Hail Maria Leopolda!) is a letter that Puccini set to music on
May 20, 1896, the manuscript of which is preserved in the Centro Studi Verdi-Toscanini in
Parma .
It is a salutation to the wife of Leopoldo Mugnone, the conductor of the April 1896

Puccini, Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano, notes.

performances of Manon Lescaut and La Bohème in Palermo.
In the first publication of this
song in 2004 by Kaye, he constructed the piano accompaniment from the original melody so that
the song would be performable, as Puccini only composed the melody. “Ave Maria Leopolda”
is in C major and has a melody that ranges from E4 to G5, which Kaye states would probably be
more suited to tenors or baritones.
It is nineteen measures long and probably was not intended
to be performed. The tempo marking is andante, and it is in 2/4 time, with many sixteenth notes
in the vocal melody and the accompaniment to give the song a majestic, jubilant feeling.
Example 4.2 shows vocal doubling in the accompaniment along with the agility required by the

Example 4.2 Puccini “Ave Maria Leopolda,” measures 6-19. Page 10.
Source: Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Masters Music
Publications. Boca Raton, Florida, 2004.




The vocal demands of “Ave Maria Leopolda!” are few, and it would be suitable for a
beginning voice student. It requires some agility in the voice and accuracy in the rhythm, but the
piano accompaniment doubles the vocal part throughout, and the melody remains on the staff
with only one note above the staff, a G5.
With a text by Puccini‟s hunting friend, Renato Fucini, “Avanti, Urania!” (Forward
Urania!) is an energetic, joyful song. This song in D major was composed to commemorate the
purchase of a “Scottish-built 179-ton iron screw steamer” named Queen Mary by Marchese
Carlo Benedetto Ginori-Lisci.
When the boat was purchased by Ginori-Lisci, a friend of
Puccini and an affluent businessman, he renamed it Urania. Urania is a Greek mythological
figure whose name means heavenly; she is the muse of astronomy and is capable of telling the
future by the position of the stars.
Ginori-Lisci allowed Puccini to hunt on his private hunting
estates and gave him the land for Puccini‟s villa in Torre del Lago. In return for Ginori-Lisci‟s
generosity, Puccini dedicated “Avanti, Urania!” to Ginori- Lisci‟s wife, Anna, and dedicated La
Bohème to Ginori-Lisci himself.
The manuscript to this song was sent to the Ginori-Liscis on
October 4, 1896.
The Premiato Stabilimento Musicale Genesio Venturini in Florence and
Rome published the song for voice and piano in 1899.

“Avanti, Urania!” is a lively thirty-six measure song with a range of D4 to A5. This
song is written in D major, a key that is often associated with victory, joy, and triumph.
joyful quality of the song quickly changes when the text describes the boat being mild-mannered
like its owner. The music modulates to a very short A minor section, a musical key sometimes
associated with tenderness or plaintiveness.
The song then returns to its enthusiastic sound as

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 294.

Wikipedia [Web site], “Urania,” Site address:; date accessed:
September 25, 2007.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 294.

Budden, p. 184.

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 63.

Rita Steblin, A History of Key Characteristics in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries. UMI Research Press
(1983). Site address:; date accessed: September 25,



the text describes the fearless boat and how it craves glory. The piano prelude, acting as
bookends to this piece, is repeated and serves as the postlude.
The vocal melody of “Avanti, Urania!” is doubled in the accompaniment throughout the
song and there is only one note, an A5, in the vocal line above the staff. This high note is
approached by an arpeggio, which would help a young singer to reach above the staff, as
arpeggio exercises are a common technique-building vocal exercise. Example 4.3 shows the end
of “Avanti, Urania!” with the ascending arpeggio ending with a sustained A5. Julian Budden‟s
opinion of “Avanti, Urania!” is clarified in his book Puccini:

It is not a particularly attractive piece. Fucini‟s words are draped casually over a tune
which seems to have occurred to the composer independently of them; and despite an
effective final strain, its upward climb balancing the downward trend of the opening, it is
commonplace Puccini. The Marchese was better recompensed with the dedication of La

Nonetheless, “Avanti, Urania!” is a straightforward song that would certainly be
appropriate for an upper classman, possibly as the final song in an Italian song set with its
energetic tempo and encore-like finish. The piano accompaniment doubles the vocal part
throughout, giving a less experienced singer ease with the scale-like melody.

Budden, p. 184.

Example 4.3 Puccini “Avanti, Urania!,” measures 25-36. Page 40.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

“Inno a Diana” (Hymn to Diana) was composed on December 12, 1897 to a poem by
Carlo Abeniacar, a hunting friend of Puccini‟s, at Torre del Lago.
The text praises Diana, the
Roman goddess of hunting. An avid hunter himself, Puccini dedicated “Inno a Diana” to all
Italian hunters. Puccini enjoyed hunting at his villa in Torre del Lago and described himself as a
hunter of “waterfowl, good libretti, and beautiful women.”
Puccini authorized the song‟s

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 294


publication in 1898 in a magazine titled Sant’ Uberto, which means “Saint Uberto,” referring to
the patron saint of hunting.

“Inno a Diana” is in D major with a range of D4 to A5, similar to that of “Avanti,
Urania!.” It begins in a march-like tempo, signifying the hunters‟ marching off to participate in
the sport. The vocal part is doubled by the piano accompaniment and repeats the opening phrase
several times throughout the song. Puccini uses terrace dynamics in this song, as he only
indicates a piano dynamic marking or a forte, fortissimo, or fff marking. In example 4.4,
Puccini‟s use of terrace dynamics is evident, as well as the doubling of the vocal melody in the

Example 4.4 Puccini “Inno a Diana,” measures 24-35. Page 42.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 69.

Ibid., p. 71.

“Inno a Diana” is in a modified rondo form of ABACA with the A section sounding
hymn-like with its chordal accompaniment and octave doubling in the left hand of the piano.
The B section contrasts this by being prayer-like, asking Diana to watch over, guide, and sustain
her followers. This section also sits lower in the voice, signifying a reverent mood. The C
section describes where they hunt: the Alps, the shores of the sea, the woods, and the fields. This
section has a higher tessitura than the B section and more lyrical phrasing, alluding to the
excitement and thrills the hunters feel.
“Inno a Diana” would be suitable for an upper classman, as it requires the singer to
access the upper part of the range easily on several occasions. Another challenge is that it
culminates with an A5 at a fff dynamic marking that is sustained for three measures.
The last song from this period is “E l’uccellino,” (And the little bird) which was
composed in 1899 again to a text by Renato Fucini.
This lullaby in D major was written in
memory of Dr. Guglielmo Lippi, a friend from Lucca who died from a typhus infection just a
few days after his marriage.
“E l’uccellino” was dedicated to Lippi‟s son, Memmo, who was
born after the death of his father.

The range of this strophic song spans the octave from D4 to D5, while the tessitura of this
touching lullaby is F#4 to B4. As in the previous song “Inno a Diana,” where the vocal melody
is doubled in the right hand of the accompaniment, the vocal melody of “E l’uccellino” is also
doubled, but in the bass line or left hand of the accompaniment.
In the piano accompaniment, there are three instances in each of the three verses where a
short appoggiatura is played, creating the image of a chirping bird. This descriptive device also
occurs in the first two measures of the piano introduction, and helps to set the mood of the text,
which describes a little bird singing in a tree. The first verse depicts the little bird‟s mother
telling the baby bird to sleep peacefully on his mother‟s heart. The second verse describes the
mother bird telling the baby bird that no one could ever tell him how much she loves him. The
abbreviated third and final verse again shows the mother bird telling the baby bird to rest on her

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 79.




breast. The chirping bird appoggiatura in the accompaniment and limited vocal range can be
seen in example 4.5.

Example 4.5 Puccini “E l’uccellino,” measures 20-34. Page 46.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

“E l’uccellino” is the song of Puccini that has received the most exposure and has been
recorded on several occasions. Mezzo-soprano Armida Parsi Pettinella was the first to record the

song in 1908.
Following her recording, such singers as Licia Albanese, Marcella Reale, and
Renata Tebaldi recorded “E l’uccellino.” More recently, Roberta Alexander, Nuccia Focile, and
Placido Domingo have done so as well.
“E l’uccellino” is a simple, strophic song that is suitable for a young, inexperienced
singer. The short, gentle melody makes it easier for the beginning singer and the range of the
song only spans one octave, perfect for one‟s first attempt at Italian song.

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 80.

Puccini’s Songs from 1902–1919

Puccini‟s final six songs were written in the period from 1902 to 1919. During these
seventeen years, Puccini also composed the operas Madama Butterfly, La fanciulla del West, La
rondine, Il tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi, and travelled across Europe and to New
York City, overseeing many productions of his earlier operas.
Six songs are documented from this final compositional period. They are “Terra e
mare;” the song for the Gramophone, “Canto d’anime;” a simple song, “Casa mia, casa mia;”
the lullaby “Sogno d’or;” “Morire?;” and his final song, “Inno a Roma.”
“Terra e mare” (Earth and sun) was composed on October 3, 1902 in Torre del Lago.

The poet, Enrico Panzanacchi, was an esteemed music critic from Bologna and a Wagner
Puccini offered this song to Edoardo de Fonseca‟s Albo Annuale d’Arti e Lettere
(Annual Album of Arts and Letters) called Novissima. Novissima was a magazine that sought to
publish the works of Italy‟s finest writers and composers, and “Terra e mare” was published in
Novissima in 1902.
There are two existing versions of “Terra e mare;” the version that was
published in Novissima in 1902, and the manuscript version, a miniature facsimile of which was
also published in the same Novissima edition.

The published version of “Terra e mare” has a range of one octave, from F4 to F5, and a
tessitura from G4 to Eb5. This song in F minor has a vocal melody that is doubled in the
accompaniment throughout, the doubling alternating between the left and right hand of the piano
part, and demonstrates Puccini‟s use of symmetrical phrasing. This twenty-nine measure song
has nine different indications in the music for ritardando, rallentando, calando, and a tempo.
The form of “Terra e mare” can be loosely described as ABA with subtle adjustments to the
melody in the da capo section. Although Puccini does not identify the form of this song as da

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 297.

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 85.



capo, it follows the common practice of modulating to the relative major in the B section as a da
capo aria would, in this case from F-minor to D-flat major.

Example 5.1 Puccini “Terra e mare,” measures 18-29. Page 51.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

“Terra e mare” is suitable for an undergraduate vocal student. With a melody
that remains on the staff and the left hand of the accompaniment doubling the vocal part, it
would be an acceptable choice for an Italian art song at the undergraduate level. With its limited
range, explicit performing instructions, and symmetrical two measure phrases, “Terra e mare”

would be an accessible song for many different levels of singers, from beginner to more
advanced. Example 5.1 shows the symmetrical phrasing of the final four phrases of “Terra e
mare,” as well as several tempo indications.
“Canto d’anime” (Song of the souls) was composed in 1904 to a text by Luigi Illica, one
of Puccini‟s librettist for La Bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly.
On April 15, 1903,
Puccini signed a contract with Gramophone to write a song for solo voice, which would be
produced exclusively for the Gramophone machine.
Alfred Michaelis, the head of the Milan
office of Gramophone, paid Puccini with one thousand records of his choice in exchange for the
The song was due June of 1903, but Puccini was involved in a serious car accident on
February 25, 1903, which ultimately left him with a limp for the rest of his life.
This accident
also caused Puccini‟s composing to fall behind schedule. “Canto d’anime” was finally
completed in late 1904.

This thirty measure song is in B-flat major and includes a range that spans an octave and
a fourth, from F4 to Bb5. The accompaniment features a march-like introduction with a chordal
accompaniment and octave doubling in the left hand against a repeated rhythmic figure of a
dotted eighth note followed by a sixteenth note in the vocal part. This rhythmic feature helps to
give the song its martial feeling. In measure twenty-four of “Canto d’anime,” the voice, in a
dotted eighth/sixteenth note rhythmic pattern, ascends over an octave by diatonic steps,
culminating in a Bb5.
“Canto d’anime” is a challenging piece that would be suitable for an advanced vocal
student. It requires great ease and comfort with the extended height of the voice, as there are
both A5 and Bb5 pitches written in the melody, and the accompaniment is not doubled in the
vocal part. These requirements would necessitate an independent, mature singer. The final

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 93.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 297.


Giacomo Puccini, The Unknown Puccini, program notes by Michael Kaye, CBS Records Masterworks
MK44981, 1989, Compact Disc, 60.

Giacomo Puccini, The Unknown Puccini, CBS Records Masterworks, 60.


phrases of “Canto d’anime” are shown in example 5.2, including the ascending scale ending on
a Bb5.

Example 5.2 Puccini “Canto d’anime,” measures 24-30. Page 54.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

“Casa mia, casa mia” (My home, my home) was composed on November 29, 1908.

The text is based on the Italian phrase “Casa mia, casa mia, benchè piccolo tu sia, tu mi pari una
badia.” The English equivalent of this is “Home sweet home” and “Be it ever so humble,
there‟s no place like home.”
Composed at the request of Edoardo de Fonseca, the publisher of
La Casa magazine, Fonseca agreed to find a buyer for Puccini‟s house in Abetone in exchange
for the song and an interview.
Puccini filled out a four-page questionnaire about his residences

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 111.

Giacomo Puccini, The Unknown Puccini, CBS Records Masterworks, 68.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 299.


in Torre del Lago, Chiatri, and Abetone.
In it, he discussed how he acquired each home, the
décor, and what was special about each one. On December 16, 1908, the article ran in La Casa
magazine along with the musical manuscript for the song “Casa mia, casa mia.”
In a letter to
Edoardo de Fonseca, Puccini suggested that he should throw this song in the trash, as he was not
inspired while writing it, saying Fonseca made him do it.
In Kaye‟s 2004 corrected and revised
edition of the score, Puccini Rediscovered, there is one new measure, which repeats the phrase
“Casa mia” instead of only stating it once, as in the original song.
This forty-five second song is Puccini‟s shortest, with just fourteen measures. “Casa
mia, casa mia” is in the key of G major with a limited range from D4 to D5. The melodic line of
“Casa mia, casa mia” centers mostly on a G major triad, although there is a key change in the
middle of the song. This modulation from G major to D major occurs in measure six and lasts
four measures. In these four measures, Puccini uses a C-sharp accidental twice, as well as a D
major triad to end the phrase strongly in the alternate D major key with the refrain “casa mia.”
In the last three measures of the song, Puccini reestablishes the G major key with the same two
measures that start the song: the words “casa mia” on a melodic leap from G4 to D5. There is a
repetitive half-note followed by a quarter-note pattern in the accompaniment that is consistent
throughout the song. While “Casa mia, casa mia” may seem like an insignificant part of
Puccini‟s output, it is interesting that he used his skills as a composer even when selling a house.
This simple song is the easiest of Puccini‟s songs, and therefore it would be a good
selection for a beginning singer. The range is very limited, although the piano accompaniment
does not double the vocal part. This song might be a good selection for a singer attempting a
song in a foreign language for the first time. Example 5.3 demonstrates Puccini‟s simplistic
approach to this song, with its sparse texture and repeated pitch vocal melody.

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 111.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 299.

Giacomo Puccini, The Unknown Puccini, CBS Records Masterworks, 68.


Example 5.3 Puccini “Casa mia, casa mia,” measures 1-6. Page 55.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

“Sogno d’or” (Golden Dream) is a lullaby written in November 1912 to a text by
Puccini‟s nephew, Carlo Marsili.
Marsili was the son of Puccini‟s sister Nitteti. The song was
composed for the Christmas edition of the popular magazine “Noi e il Mondo,” an addition to
the Italian newspaper La Tribuna.
Puccini biographer Julian Budden discovered “Sogno d’or”
shortly after Kaye wrote The Unknown Puccini in 1987.
It was thought that upon finding the
song “Sogno d’or,” the collection of existing Puccini songs was complete, although Kaye has
since discovered and published three more unknown Puccini songs.
“Sogno d’or” is in B-flat major with minimal piano accompaniment that does not double
the voice part. The left hand plays arpeggios, which lack the third scale degree, while the right
hand has sustained chords that always include the second scale degree. This helps to give the
song its dreamy atmosphere. The range is from C4 to F5, which would make it appropriate for

Budden, p. 340.

Giacomo Puccini, Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano, notes.



most voice types, but probably best for mezzo-soprano. Like Puccini‟s other lullaby “E
l’uccellino,” the text of this song is told from a parent‟s point of view to the child. It states that
an angel will join the baby on his pillow and tell him about treasures and fairies while he dreams.
The vocal line is set in predominantly step-wise descending motion within a narrow
range, however challenges for the singer arise with lengthy phrases and a sustained F5 at the end
of the song. Although the piano accompaniment is very sparse and does not double the vocal
line, “Sogno d’or” would be a good selection to assign to a young singer. Some vocal issues
that could be addressed through this song include breath management, independence in the vocal
line, and sustaining a pitch on the top of the staff with a decrescendo. Example 5.4 shows the
descending step-wise vocal melody, as well as the left hand arpeggiation lacking the third scale

Example 5.4 Puccini “Sogno d’or,” measures 6-23. Page 4.
Source: Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Masters Music
Publications. Boca Raton, Florida, 2004.


Set to a poem by one of Puccini‟s librettists, Giuseppe Adami, the song “Morire?” (To
Die?) is thought to have been written in 1917.
Dedicated to Queen Elena di Savoia, it was
issued by Ricordi in 1917 in the Album Per la Croce Rossa, along with other unpublished works
by Pietro Mascagni, Alberto Franchetti, Umberto Giordano, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Arrigo Boito,
and Riccardo Zandonai.
Proceeds from these works went to benefit the Italian Red Cross and
its wartime relief efforts.

“Morire?” is in the key of G major with a range from F4 to B5 and a text questioning the
meaning and purpose of life, which states that only those who have passed on can know the
answer. The accompaniment of “Morire?” has repeated eighth notes in both hands with the
right hand also playing in unison with the vocalist‟s broad, sustained melody. In measure
twenty-one, Puccini uses a quintuplet to set accurately the inflection of the words “é semplicità.”
Beginning with measure thirty-six, there are five changes in the time signature in six measures.
The uncertainty of the time signature might reflect the uncertainty of the afterlife, which the text
describes as his peace being swept. The final section of this song, from measures forty-six to
fifty, is unaccompanied and sung in a recitative-like style culminating with a B5, the highest note
Puccini writes in a song. Example 5.5 shows the recitative-like ending to “Morire?.”
“Morire?,” a song that is most suitable for an advanced singer, includes some rhythmic
challenges, as well as a high, extended range. Although Puccini does not indicate a particular
voice type for “Morire?,” when he later used the song as the basis for Ruggero‟s Act I aria in La
rondine, he indicated it as a romanza for tenor, thus the song “Morire?” would also be most
appropriate for tenor voice.

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 119.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 299.


Example 5.5 Puccini “Morire?,” measures 42-52. Page 59.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.

Puccini again reused melodic material here, with the song “Morire?” being used as the
source for Act I of Puccini‟s second version of La rondine in the tenor aria “Parigi e la città,”
which will be discussed in Chapter 6.
“Inno a Roma” (Hymn to Rome), the final song that Puccini composed, was written in
four days in 1919 to a text by Fausto Salvatori.
In April 1918, the municipal authorities of
Rome commissioned Salvatori to write a text honoring Italy‟s victories in the final months of

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 300.

World War I.
Prince Prospero Colonna suggested that Puccini set the text to music because he
felt that Rome needed a national hymn. Eventually published by Sonzogno in 1923, “Inno a
Roma” had the undesired distinction of being one of the official Fascist hymns under Mussolini.
Puccini was not fond of it and once wrote that it was “una bella porcheria” (a real piece of
The first performance of “Inno a Roma” was scheduled for April 21, 1919 with 4,000
performers gathered at Villa Umberto to celebrate Rome‟s birthday.
A storm swept in at the
beginning of the concert, and the performance had to be cancelled and rescheduled for June 1,
1919, at the National Stadium during the Royal Gymnastic Competition.

“Inno a Roma,” also designated as “Inno di Roma,” is a majestic song in A-flat major.
The vocal range of “Inno a Roma” is Eb4 to Ab5 with a tessitura from G4 to Eb5. The piano
accompaniment doubles the voice part throughout the eighty-six measures.
This song can be divided into three distinct sections. The first section, in A-flat major,
begins with a forte military call in the piano part and sounds march-like, with dotted rhythms in
the vocal part. The second section changes to a minor key and a piano dynamic marking, but
keeps the dotted rhythms in the vocal part. The final section uses a quarter-note accompaniment
and changes keys to E-flat major, with a constant Bb in the right hand of the accompaniment, all
contributing to its anthem-like sound. The finale refrain, which returns to the key of A-flat
major, is indicated with the melody written out in octaves, possibly to accommodate the varying
octaves in which an audience might sing a national hymn.
With a march-like accompaniment and an emphatic and declamatory vocal line, evident
in example 5.6, “Inno a Roma” is a demanding song that would be appropriate for an advanced
undergraduate singer. Although the range of this song is manageable for most singers, the
manner in which the primarily quarter note vocal line coincides with the chordal accompaniment
produces a song that can be fatiguing for the singer. The final verse remains in the top of the
staff and requires singers that can pace themselves, without pushing their voices. Example 5.6
also shows the tempo indication marziale, meaning martial or warlike.

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 127.

Ibid., p. 129.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 300.

Ibid., p. 301.

Example 5.6 Puccini “Inno a Roma,” measures 1-13. Page 60.
Source: Giacomo Puccini: Songs for Voice and Piano. Published by Oxford University Press.
New York, New York, 1988.


Puccini’s Operatic Self-Borrowing

It is well documented that Puccini showed a tendency to borrow melodies from himself,
even though some have called the composer lazy for this self-borrowing. Puccini was aware of
his self-borrowing and, although he never discussed the practice, he did describe it as a “labor-
saving device.”
He repeated this practice throughout his life, often borrowing one of the
melodies of his songs and re-using that melody in one of his operas.
The first instance of Puccini‟s self-borrowing that will be discussed is No. 5 in the Le
Villi score, also known as the prayer “Angiol di Dio.” The introduction to the prayer, played by
the orchestra, as well as the actual prayer, “Angiol di Dio,” is taken from the thirty-five
measures of Puccini‟s song “Salve Regina.” Unlike “Salve Regina,” which is in the key of F
major, Puccini uses the key of E-flat major in this scene. The key of E-flat major is often
associated with sacred music and the Trinity, which may have influenced Puccini‟s change of
key from the song. At the beginning of the prayer, the theme is sung by Guglielmo, a baritone,
which may be another reason why the key was lowered a whole step. Another significant
difference between the two selections is the tempo indications. “Salve Regina” is marked largo
religioso, whereas the introduction to “Angiol di Dio” is indicated allegro. The tempo then
slows down once the solo voice enters to andante mosso. The vocal entrances of Anna, a
soprano, Roberto, a tenor, and the chorus, follow Guglielmo‟s vocal entrance as the melody
develops into a full ensemble scene. There are a few instances where the rhythm has been
altered in order to adjust to the different text, but the rhythm and melody remain mostly intact,
with the original melody from “Salve Regina” remaining the prominent upper melody, Anna‟s
vocal line. Example 6.1 is an excerpt of “Angiol di Dio” from Le Villi and shows the
corresponding self-borrowing from “Salve Regina.” The vocal entrances of Anna and Roberto
are seen as well, as Anna‟s vocal line continues with the original melody. To compare this
musical example to the song “Salve Regina,” refer to music example 3.1.

Michael Elphinstone, “Le Villi, Edgar, and the Symphonic Element,” in The Puccini Companion, ed.
William Weaver (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 1994), p. 86.

Example 6.1 Puccini from Act I, scene v of Le Villi 1883, page 42.
Source: Le Villi. Published by Ricordi. Milan, 1986.

Another instance of self-borrowing occurs when Puccini used eleven measures of
“Storiella d’amore” in the Act III trio “Bella Signora” from his second opera, Edgar.
lento theme in “Storiella d’amore,” found in measures forty-four through forty-eight, is used as
thematic material for the Edgar trio at Edgar‟s line “Io vi chieggo pieta per quei ginocchi” at
rehearsal number thirty-six in the Ricordi edition. Also working in the key of D major, Puccini
uses the exact melody from his song “Storiella d’amore” at Tigrana‟s phrase “Silenzio, frate,
lasciatemi pregar!,” which immediately follows the Edgar line mentioned above.

Elphinstone, p. 106.

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 46.

self-borrowing occurs again at square forty with Edgar‟s phrase “Un detto della tua bocca
vermiglia” and repeats again immediately with Tigrana‟s “V’allontanate Lasciatemi Pregar!”
Puccini used the second lento theme from “Mentia l’avviso” as his source for Des
Grieux‟s Act I aria “Donna non vidi mai” from Manon Lescaut.
After Puccini had written the
song “Mentia l’avviso” as his final assignment in order to graduate from the Milan
Conservatory, Puccini returned to the melody of “Mentia l’avviso” when he was composing
Manon Lescaut. Beginning in measure eighty-two through the end of “Mentia l’avviso,” the
basis for this well-known tenor aria is apparent. The key for the opera aria is a whole step higher
than “Mentia l’avviso,” and includes phrases not included in the early Puccini aria from seven
years earlier. The lento theme of “Mentia l’avviso” has a time signature of 3/4 time, while the
aria from Manon Lescaut is in 4/4 time. There are several subtle variations between the two
selections, including the addition or subtraction of pick-up notes and the use of dotted rhythms
rather than triplets. Example 6.2 shows the melody of the aria from Manon Lescaut, which is
borrowed from “Mentia l’avviso.”

Example 6.2 Puccini from Act I of Manon Lescaut 1893. Page 47.
Source: Manon Lescaut. Published by Ricordi. Milan, Italy, 1944.

Kaye, “The Nonoperatic Works of Giacomo Puccini,” p. 287.

Puccini‟s again utilizes self-borrowing in the quartet of Act III in La Bohème, where
Puccini recycles the song “Sole e amore,” discussed in Chapter Three as the exact source for the
beginning of the famous quartet. Both the song and the quartet are in the same key, but with
different texts. The tempo for the quartet is marked Andante con moto, whereas the song‟s
tempo is Allegretto (mosso). The quartet, “Dunque è proprio finita!,” begins after Mimi sings
the aria “Donde lieta.” Rodolfo begins the quartet that closes Act III by realizing that Mimi is
leaving him for good and he must say goodbye to his dreams of love. Mimi responds to
Rodolfo‟s statement by saying her own goodbye to the sweet times they awoke together. Mimi
sings her first phrase of the quartet, which matches the melody of “Sole e amore,” and then
Rodolfo picks up the second phrase from the song, which continues the melody of “Sole e
amore.” The third phrase of the quartet is similar to the song harmonically but not melodically.
Rodolfo then resumes the song‟s melody at “ch’io da vero poeta.” He again passes the song‟s
melody on to Mimi and she sings the passionate phrase “soli d’inverno,” which means alone in
winter. Puccini then changes one pitch at this point in the phrase, giving the operatic duet a
higher note rather than the lower note he had written in the song. Instead of F5-Eb5-F5, he
writes F5-Gb5-F5. This raised pitch in the quartet adds more emotion to their phrase, as if to
express the sadness Rodolfo and Mimi feel about their separation. Puccini finishes his song
“Sole e amore” with a reprise of the delicate melody that began the song, but in the quartet, he
builds on the ensemble with a passionate unison phrase before adding in the other two characters
of the quartet, Marcello and Musetta. The same piano introduction to the song, played by the
piano, can be heard in the scene from La Bohème, played by the orchestra.

Example 6.3 Puccini from Act III of La Bohème 1896, pages 221-222.
Source: La Bohème. Published by G. Schirmer. New York, New York, 1954.

Puccini‟s late song “Morire?” reappears in Act I of Puccini‟s second version of La
rondine in Ruggero‟s romanza, “Parigi è la città,” but it is lowered by a half step and has new

text and a different ending.
Puccini began composing the second version of La rondine in the
summer of 1918. This version, basically a revision of the first version, was an attempt by
Puccini to fix problems with the libretto for upcoming productions. The aria “Parigi è la città”
clearly uses the same melody as “Morire?,” but with the rhythmic values changed to fit the
inflection of the aria‟s different text. In measure twenty-eight of “Parigi è la città,” Puccini
excludes two measures that he used in the song “Morire?” and repeats the phrase that follows
twice. While the aria “Parigi è la città” is clearly a duplicate of the song “Morire?,” these
subtle changes help Puccini to set the text efficiently.

Example 6.4 Puccini from Act I of La rondine 1920, pages 197.
Source: The Unknown Puccini. Published by Oxford University Press. New York, New York,

Kaye, The Unknown Puccini, p. 120.

While Giacomo Puccini is well-known as a composer of beautiful, dramatic operas, his solo
compositions for voice and piano accompaniment represent a small but interesting part of his
output. These seventeen extant songs have remained virtually unknown, but they provide an
insightful look into the composer and his talents. The songs of Puccini vary widely in quality,
yet as a group they offer a variety of challenges for vocalists of all levels and voice types. There
are songs with both narrow and wide ranges, and the songs feature a variety of compositional
techniques (diatonic scalar patterns as well as large leaps in the vocal line, recitative-like
passages, symmetrical and asymmetrical phrasing, and others) that can provide the student singer
with valuable training is progressively more challenging vocal techniques. The accompaniments
are also varied, including march-like themes, sparse textures, thick chordal patterns, syncopated
rhythms with ostinato patterns, doubling of the vocal line, and passages in which the voice in
independent of the accompaniment. Although Puccini‟s compositional gifts are not always on
full display in these songs, the diversity of these compositions merit attention by both amateur
and professional vocalists, and are particularly valuable as tools for a voice teacher.
Puccini‟s songs can be separated into four periods; his early years, the Milan
Conservatory years, songs from 1888-1899, and his mature style period. Songs from each of
these periods possess distinctive qualities and motivations for composing the selection. The
early years only include two solo songs, both of which show Puccini as a young, inexperienced
composer. The Conservatory years consist of four songs and begin to display a more distinctive
quality similar to his later compositions, including his well-known operas. All four of the songs
composed during this period were later used in Le Villi, Manon Lescaut, and Edgar. The five
songs composed during the period that spans the eleven years from 1888 to 1899 are
characterized by the impetus to compose them. These songs were composed for magazine
supplements, the wife of the conductor who conducted performances of Manon Lescaut and La
Bohème, the commemoration of a friend‟s boat, all Italian hunters, and the son of a deceased
friend. Finally, the last period, totaling six songs, demonstrate his maturity as a composer,
utilizing the most extreme ranges for the voice and interpretive indications.

Given the popularity of Puccini‟s established operatic compositions, his songs have been
overlooked by many, but deserve an opportunity for exploration by teachers and students.
These songs provide singers a vast range of programming possibilities, including songs from
specific periods, songs used in Puccini‟s operatic borrowing, and songs composed for his friends.
While Puccini‟s contribution to art song will never overshadow his importance to the operatic
repertoire, these songs are appropriate for singers from the undergraduate level to professional
level offering teachers an opportunity to work through various vocal technique issues.


Solo Songs for Voice by Giacomo Puccini
Song Title Year Key Range Intended
Voice Type
Student Level Borrowed?
A te 1875 [?] D major A3 to F#5 Not specified Undergraduate student No
La Primavera 1880 [?] F major C4 to G5 Not specified Beginner student No
Salve Regina 1882-1883 F major D4 to F5 Soprano Undergraduate student Yes, used in Act I of Le Villi for the prayer
“Angiol di Dio che I vanni rivolgi al ciel
Ad una morta! 1883 Eb minor/ Eb major Eb3 to G4 Baritone Graduate student Yes, portions are used in Le Villi, Edgar, and
Manon Lescaut
Storiella d’amore 1883 D major C#4 to A5 Not specified Undergraduate student Yes, eleven measures are used in the Act III
trio, “Bella Signora” from Edgar
Mentia l’avviso 1883 F minor Eb4 to Bb5 Tenor Graduate student Yes, used in the Act I aria “Donna non vidi
mai” from Manon Lescaut
Sole e amore 1888 Gb major Db4 to
Soprano Undergraduate student Yes, used in the Act III quartet “Dunque è
proprio finita” from La Bohème
Ave Maria Leopolda! 1896 C major E4 to G5 Not specified Beginner student No
Avanti, Urania! 1896 D major D4 to A5 Not specified Undergraduate student No
Inno a Diana 1897 D major D4 to A5 Not specified Undergraduate student No
E l’uccellino 1899 D major D4 to D5 Not specified Beginner student No
Terra e mare 1902 F minor F4 to F5 Not specified Undergraduate student No
Canto d’anime 1904 Bb major F4 to Bb5 Not specified Graduate student No
Casa mia, casa mia 1908 G major D4 to D5 Not specified Beginner student No
Sogno d’or 1912 Bb major C4 to F5 Not specified Undergraduate student No
Morire? 1917 [?] G major F4 to B5 Not specified Graduate student Yes, used in the Act I tenor aria “Parigi e la
città” in the second version of La rondine
Inno a Roma 1919 Ab major Eb4 to Ab5 Not specified Undergraduate student No





Ashbrook, William. The Operas of Puccini. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.

________, and Harold Powers. Turandot: The End of the Great Tradition. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1991.

Berger, William. Puccini Without Excuses: A Refreshing Reassessment of the World’s Most
Popular Composer. New York: Vintage Books, 2005.

Budden, Julian. Puccini: His Life & Works. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Carner, Mosco. Puccini: A Critical Biography. 3
edition. New York: Holmes & Meier
Publishers, 1992.

Del Fiorentino, Dante. Immortal Bohemian; An Intimate Memoir of Giacomo Puccini.
New York: Prentice-Hall, 1952.

DiGaetani, John L. Puccini the Thinker: The Composer’s Intellectual and Dramatic
Development. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 1987

Edwards, Geoffrey and Ryan Edwards. Verdi and Puccini Heroines: Dramatic
Characterization in Great Soprano Roles. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001.

Fairtile, Linda B. Giacomo Puccini: A Guide to Research. New York: Garland
Publishers, 1999.

Girardi, Michele. Puccini: His International Art. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

Greenfeld, Howard. Puccini: A Biography. New York: Putnam, 1980.

Grout, Donald. A Short History of Opera. 3
edition. New York: Columbia University
Press, 1988.

Hopkinson, Cecil. A Bibliography of the Works of Giacomo Puccini, 1858-1924. New
York: Broude Bros., 1968.

Hughes, Spike. Famous Puccini Operas; An Analytical Guide for the Opera-Goer and The
Armchair Listener. 2
edition. New York: Dover Publications, 1972.

Jackson, Stanley. Monsieur Butterfly; The Story of Giacomo Puccini. New York: Stein
and Day, 1974.

Kaye, Michael. The Unknown Puccini. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

LaRue, C. Steven, ed., International Dictionary of Opera, vol. 2, Giacomo Puccini, by William
Ashbrook. Detroit: St. James Press, 1993.

Marek, George R. Puccini, A Biography. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1951.

Osborne, Charles. The Complete Operas of Puccini. New York: Da Capo Press, 1983.

Phillips- Matz, Mary-Jane. Puccini: A Biography. Boston: Northeastern University Press,

Ramsden, Timothy. Puccini. London: Omnibus, 1996.

Sadie, Stanley, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, vol. 3, Giacomo Puccini, by Julian
Budden. New York: Macmillan Press, 1992.

Sadie, Stanley, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 15, Giacomo
Puccini, by Gabriella Biagi Ravenni and Mosco Carner. New York: Macmillan Press,

Sadie, Stanley, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol.20, Giacomo
Puccini, by Gabriella Biagi Ravenni and Michele Girardi. New York: Macmillan
Publishers Limited, 2001.

Southwell-Sander, Peter. Puccini. London: Omnibus Press, 1996.

Stanley Sadie, ed. Puccini and His Operas. London: Macmillan, 1999.

Wilson, Conrad. Giacomo Puccini. London: Phaidon, 1997.

Weaver, William. Puccini: The Man and His Music. 1
edition. New York: E.P. Dutton,

________. The Golden Century of Italian Operas from Rossini to Puccini. London:
Thames and Hudson, 1980.

________, and Simonetta Puccini, ed. The Puccini Companion. New York: W.W. Norton,

Carman, Judith. “Italian and Sacred Songs.” Journal of Singing 54 (March/April 1998): 65-74.

Fairtile, Linda Beard. “Puccini Songs and Piano Compositions.” Notes 63/1 (September 2006):

Heath, Mary Joanne Renner. “Exoticism in Puccini: The Japanese Melodies in Madama
Butterfly.” The Opera Journal 13:N4 (1980): 21-28.

Hughes, Spike. “Drawn from Life: In La Boheme Puccini Relied on a Colorful, Realistic
Novel and his Own Experience.” Opera News 42 (December 24, 1977): 12-14.

Kaye, Michael. “The Songs of Puccini.” The Opera Quarterly, ii/3 (Autumn 1984): 89
Mourby, A. “Roughing it: Opera Critics Have a Tough Life (Puccini Festival in Torre del
Lago) Only Opera Festival Held Adjacent to Campground.” Opera Now (July/August
2001): 38-39.

Fairtile, Linda Beard. “Giacomo Puccini‟s Operatic Revisions As Manifestations of His
Compositional Priorities.” Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1996.

Greenwald, Helen. “Dramatic Exposition and Musical Structure in Puccini‟s Operas.” Ph.D.
diss., City University of New York, 1991.
Ho, Min. “The Leitmotif Technique in Puccini‟s „La Boheme,‟ „Tosca,‟ and „Madama
Butterfly:‟ A Critical Examination of Transformation Procedures.” Ph.D. diss., The
University of Saskatchewan, 1994.

Howe, Teresa Metzger. “Rodolfo and Mimi: A Study of the Powerful Blend of Lyrics and
Music in Puccini‟s “La Boheme.” D.M.A. diss., University of Washington, 2001.

Kim, Soo Hong. “The Songs of Giacomo Puccini: An Analytical Study of his Style and
Self- Borrowing.” D.M.A. diss., University of North Texas, 1997.

Compact Discs:
Puccini, Giacomo. The Unknown Puccini. CBS Records Masterworks MK44981, 1989.
Compact Disc.

________. Sole e amore. Unicorn Records Ltd DKP (CD) 9161, 1996. Compact Disc.

________. Sole e amore. Erato Disques S.A. 0630-17071-2, 1997. Compact Disc.

Musical scores:
Puccini, Giacomo. Edgar. Milan: Ricordi, 1982.

________. Gianni Schicchi. Milan: Ricordi, 1990.
________. La Boheme. New York: G. Schirmer, 1954.

________. Le Villi. Milan: Ricordi, 1983.

________. Madame Butterfly. Milan: Ricordi, 1999.

________. Manon Lescaut. Milan: Ricordi, 1944.

________. Turandot. Milan: Ricordi, 2000.

________. Two arias from La Rondine: for Soprano. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard, 1992.

________. Songs for Voice and Piano. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

________. Puccini Rediscovered: Six Songs for Voice and Piano. Masters Music Publications,
Inc., 2004.



Soprano Laurie Domingue Lester received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Baylor University, a
Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Doctor
of Music in vocal performance from Florida State University. Dr. Lester was most recently seen with the Houston
Grand Opera in the role of Pepik in Cunning Little Vixen, the Bridesmaid in Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as with
Berkshire Opera performing the role of Miss Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief. Some of her awards include
First Place and the Audience Choice award in the International Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria, Texoma
Singer of the Year, Second Place in the Orpheus Vocal Competition, Second Place in the Mobile Opera Vocal
Competition, and she was named a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Laurie Domingue Lester has proven herself to be effective on the opera stage, where she has performed the
leading roles of Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Anne Trulove in The Rakes Progress, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte,
Morgana in Alcina, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, and Charleston Singer in the world
premiere of Loss of Eden.
Dr. Lester currently lives in Houston with her husband, where she continues to perform in operas and recitals,
and teaches at Houston Baptist University, Cy-Fair College, and Wharton County Junior College.