About the author: Mei Zhong, Assistant Professor at Ball State University, received her MFA from UCLA and her DMA from the University of Illinois. She is a visiting professor at four universities in China. Zhong has performed the title roles in Madama Butterfly, Suor Angelica, and Micaele in Carmen, and she appears often as a soloist in concerts and recitals. She writes articles about singing, teaching, and Puccini.2002 0-7734-7190-1
Difficulties in establishing tempos for Puccini’s soprano arias arise from the lack of markings in some cases, ambiguous or impractical markings in others, doubts about the authorship of some markings, and wide variations in tempo among recorded performances. This study seeks to establish the originally intended tempos for these operas. By examining Puccini’s autographs, the first edition vocal scores, and many early recordings – especially those by the sopranos or conductors who worked with the composer or performed the arias during Puccini’s lifetime – it establishes tempos that conform to Puccini’s musical and dramatic intentions. Additional sources include the commentaries of Luigi Ricci, Puccini’s rehearsal pianist; contemporaneous and contemporary commentaries; and current scholarship.