Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) began his career at the end of the Romantic period and his death signaled the end of the last major age of Italian opera. During his lifetime and in posterity, the composer's popularity surpassed that of his peers, and three of his works — La bohéme, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly — rank among the twenty-first century's ten most-performed operas. With their enchanting melodies, exotic subjects, and realistic plots, Puccini's operas continue to speak to the minds and hearts of listeners. This comprehensive exploration of Puccini's most beloved operas presents concise and entertaining overviews of the composer's works. In addition to exploring the poignant stories that inspired the operas, the guide elaborates on their musical and dramatic content. Part musical analysis and part interpretation, this book is above all a personal appreciation. In addition to offering an ideal companion for opera devotees, the accessible treatment forms an excellent introduction for novices.