Despite the various criticisms levelled at his work, Puccini’s operas remain as popular with audiences as ever. The centenary of his death gives companies the chance to reflect on what makes his operas so special and to continue exploring new ways to stage them, writes UK academic and Puccini expert Alexandra Wilson.

Opera North’s 2023 production of Tosca
Opera Australia will present Opera North’s 2023 production of Tosca during its winter season in Melbourne and Sydney. Photo © James Glossop

There is something quintessentially modern about Giacomo Puccini. With his pinstriped suits, raffish hats and cigarettes, not to mention his taste for fast cars, he seems far removed from the bewigged composers of earlier times. He was the man who brought the operatic art form into the modern age, using...