Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (22 December 1858 – 29 November 1924) was an Italian composer whose operas, including La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot, are among the most frequently performed in the standard repertoire. Some of his arias, such as "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, "Che gelida manina" from La bohème, and "Nessun dorma" from Turandot, have become part of popular culture.
Puccini clearly occupies a place in the popular tradition of Verdi, his style of orchestration showing the strong influence of Richard Wagner, matching specific orchestral configurations and timbres to different dramatic moments.
The structures of Puccini's works are also noteworthy. While it is to an extent possible to divide his operas into arias or numbers (like Verdi's), his scores generally through-composed presenting a very strong sense of continuous flow and connectivity, perhaps another sign of Wagner's influence. Like Wagner, Puccini used leitmotifs to connote characters and sentiments (or combinations thereof). This is most apparent in Tosca, where the three chords which signal the beginning of the opera are used throughout to announce Scarpia; the descending brass motive (Vivacissimo con violenza) is connected to the repressive regime which ruled Rome at the setting of the opera and most clearly to Angelotti, one of the regime's victims; the harp arpeggio figure which appears at Tosca's entrance and the aria Vissi d'arte symbolizing Tosca's religious fervor; the clarinet ascending-descending scale indicating Mario's suffering and his doomed love for Tosca. Several motifs are also linked to Mimi and the bohemians in La bohème and to Cio-Cio-San's eventual suicide in Butterfly. Unlike Wagner, Puccini's motifs are in some cases static; they are intended to direct the audience's attention to a particular idea. However, throughout his operas, for example the love motifs in La Boheme, there are examples of his melodies developing to signal a change in a character.