Centre for Continuing Education

Great Composers Course: Puccini

Music. Open to everyone.

Learn about Music the smart way with Music courses at CCE, The University of Sydney.

La Bohème, 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.  


Upon completion of this course, it is expected that participants will be able to:

  1. Describe elements of Puccini’s musical style
  2. List some of Puccini’s operas
  3. Describe some of the major events of Puccini’s life


This classical music appreciation course covers the following topics:

  • What do we think about when we think of Puccini?
  • Puccini’s Place in History
  • Puccini’s Musical Style: what makes Puccini sound like Puccini
  • The Impressionist period: Music in Puccini’s time
  • Major events in the life of Puccini
  • Puccini’s early years in Lucca
  • Le Villi, Edgar, Manon Lescaut
  • Puccini’s marriage
  • La Boheme
  • Tosca
  • The Doria scandal
  • Madama Butterfly
  • Puccini and technology
  • Turandot

Intended Audience

This course is designed for fans of classical music, beginners and experienced listeners alike. No prior musical knowledge is required.  

Delivery Style



Handout of printed notes


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion