Puccini’s Feminine Characters Between Duty Imperative and Love Sacrifice

  • Gabriel Bulancea Dunărea de Jos”University of Galati, Galati, Romania
  • Eugenia-Tatiana Bulancea ”Dunărea de Jos”University of Galati, Galati, Romania
Keywords: Giacomo Puccini, verism, Tosca, Turandot, Charles Mauron


Author of twelve operas that he composed between 1884 and 1924,Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) will transform the feminine characters into complex characters, into the most formidable agents of artistic emotion and generators of stage action. Whether we refer to ManonLescaut (1893), Boema (1896), Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904), La fanciulla del West (1910), Suor Angelica (1918) or Turandot (1924), the woman is almost always presented as virtuous, sweet, loving the profound, pure-hearted, capable of accepting sufferance or the ultimate sacrifice. [2]

The main themes are love and death, and they are present in most of his operas.  All the other feelings are marginalised or subordinated to love. This is one of the reasons for which his operas are also called melodramas by the exegesis, Puccini being considered one of the continuators of the line initiated by Donizetti, Bellini and Massenet. The heroine is fragile, sentimental and sensual, young and innocent, the entire drama being built around her. Love sparkles spontaneously between the protagonists of the drama, having an honest, profoundly emotional nature; it starts within a happy context and it acquires a tragic nature eventually. One of the essential features of Puccinni’s drama consists of a gradual accumulation of tension along the three acts in order to generate the catastrophic denouement in the final act. Thus, the first act offers us the falling in love scene, being usually marked by a love duet. The second act contains the most important sections of the drama, ending in an unpredictable event, while the third act, most often than not the shortest, brings with it a sudden denouement of the action, being based on one of the characters’ lament. [6]


[1] Allorto R. Nuovas toria della musica [A new history of music]. Milano: Casa Ricordi; 2005.
[2] Carrozzo M, Cimagalli C. Storiad ella musica occidentale – Dal Romanticis moalla musica elettronica, vol. III [The history of western music – from romanticism to electronic music] . Roma: Armando Editore; 2001.
[3] Chevalier J. Dicţionar de simboluri [Dictionary of symbols]. Bucharest. Artemis; 1994. pp. 27-28.
[4] Goléa A, Vignal M. Larousse – Dicționar de mari muzicieni [Dictionary of great musicians]. Bucharest: Univers Enciclopedic; 2000.
[5] Mauron C. De la metaforele obsedante la mitul personal [From obsessive metaphors to personal myth]. Cluj-Napoca: Dacia; 2001.
[6] Surian E. Manuale di storia della musica, Vol. III [A handbook of music history]. Torino. Rugginenti Editore; 2014.
How to Cite
Bulancea, G., & Bulancea, E.-T. (2020). Puccini’s Feminine Characters Between Duty Imperative and Love Sacrifice. LUMEN Proceedings, 12, 59-64. https://doi.org/10.18662/lumproc/sec-iasr2019/07