Editing Puccini

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This chapter considers the complex task of editing Puccini’s works, informed by the production of the Ricordi critical edition (launched in 2008 and ongoing). An abundance of materials exist upon which the editor can draw, including autographs, sketches, printed editions, and correspondence, thanks to Puccini’s close and long relationship with the Ricordi firm. However, some gaps exist in the surviving sources, and some sources disagree with others. The author explains that the editor must choose a text on which to base the edition, drawing on further sources as necessary to make informed interventions, striving to get as close as possible to the composer’s intentions, but mindful of the fact that his intentions and preferences changed over time. In Puccini’s case, second editions usually reflect the works as performed at their premieres, the first edition already becoming obsolete in rehearsal. The chapter discusses the various decisions and interventions that an editor must make in order to make an edition both faithful and usable. Puccini’s working method and process of revising his operas are discussed in detail. The chapter ends by asking whether early recordings, as well as printed and written documents, should inform an edition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPuccini in Context
EditorsAlexandra Wilson
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781108880732, 9781108891028
ISBN (Print)9781108835589
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Publication series

NameComposers in Context
PublisherCambridge University Press


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