After working as the Conservative MP for Putney from 1979 to 1997, including a spell as Culture Secretary, David, above, has settled into a career in classical music. He spent seven years with Radio 3, and has been broadcasting with Classic FM for 15 years, hosting a Sunday evening show and David Mellor's Light Music Masters on Saturday. He has been the Mail on Sunday's classical music critic for almost two decades.
Giacomo Puccini ranks alongside Verdi as one of the two greatest Italian opera composers. Unlike Verdi, Puccini wrote sparingly, producing an opera every four years or so. As a consequence, all of his operas are beautifully wrought, pack an emotional response and do not outstay their welcome. He is now rightly seen as one of the real opera greats. During his adult life he lived in Torre del Lago, which was his retreat from the world, where he could shoot the wild ducks on the nearby lake, and take advantage of the solitude to compose. Throw in his taste for women, and you’ve got the complete picture; a genius of straightforward tastes, who produced music for the people, which anyone with a musical ear can revel in. The chance to hear Puccini in what was both his home and his inspiration is too good to miss. I have always enjoyed my visits to Torre del Lago and I can’t wait for the opportunity to join you there.David Mellor