The Great Puccini

1 day, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Puccini at the piano

La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Turandot, Tosca - Puccini’s operas are performed more often than any other composer’s, and loved by millions of listeners worldwide. As well as opera, Puccini loved women, shooting, fishing, and sports cars, and lived a life that occasionally matched the drama and scandal of his opera plots. This music appreciation course examines the life and music of Puccini, with lots of musical examples from some of the greatest operas of all time. We will discover how Puccini moves us so deeply, and the musical techniques he employed. No musical knowledge is necessary.

Course Outline

Session 1

  • What do we think of when we think of Puccini?
  • Puccini's Place in History
  • Puccini's Musical Style
  • Historical and Social Background
  • “E lucevan le stelle” from Tosca

Session 2

  • The Early Years
  • Study in Milan
  • Messa di Gloria
  • Elvira Gemignani
  • Le Villi, Edgar, Manon Lescaut
  • La Boheme

Session 3

  • Tosca
  • Marriage
  • Madama Butterfly

Session 4

  • The Doria Manfredi scandal
  • La Fanciulla del West, La Rondine, Il trittico
  • Puccini's final years
  • Turandot
Book cover: The Great Puccini

Buy the course notes for this class

In hard copy book form, through Lulu Press
$18 + postage


“Very interesting course – learned a lot more about Puccini, his life and music. Full of variety”

“Susan is very knowledgeable and illustrates her lectures so well. Her extensive handouts are excellent. I am sorry to leave at the end of the day – a wonderfully well-presented course. I have done a previous course with Susan and look forward to attending more of her courses”

“Thankyou Susan. As usual a most enjoyable and informative day”

“Teaching was very good and aids were excellent. Susan obviously enjoys music and teaching about it”

“Clear information, interestingly presented and well-prepared by a professional. Keep ’em coming!”

“Susan Deas never disappoints”

About Susan Deas

Susan Deas is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher. She has been teaching music appreciation courses for more than twenty years, through Sydney University's Centre for Continuing Education, WEA Sydney and at other venues. Her training includes a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance (Piano) and Musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and an A.Mus.A in Musicianship. Susan teaches piano and music theory to adults and children, and plays piano and organ at various venues around Sydney. Susan is an accredited piano teacher and musicianship teacher, and is on the Council of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW.

More about Susan's qualifications

Read what people have said about Susan's other courses

Susan's other music courses