Onstage and off, affable, humble Puccini loved his women. The Lucca loverboy charmed (the panties off) everyone he met and wrote about steely women with massive balls and a soft underbelly of sensitivity -- Manon Lescaut, Mimì, Musetta, Tosca, Magda, Minnie, Suor Angelica, Madama Butterfly and Turandot.
Puccini's diva couture is legendary -- the red velvet scoop-neck gown that Callas wore as Tosca; the gold embroidered red silk that Nilsson wore as Turandot; and Suor Angelica's awesome nun habit and starchy black robes (<--- said by no one. No one has ever said that.)
The stage costumes of Puccini's stars go on display in a new exhibit, "PrimeDonne - le donne di Puccini", at Milan's Centro Diagnostico Italiano to celebrate the composer's protagonists as well as Made in Italy craftsmanship via restoration of the historic costumes -- Manon Lescaut (1893) (above), La bohème (1896) and Tosca (1900) (below) designed by Adolf Hohenstein.
Viewing's at Milan's Centro Diagnostico Italiano on Via Simone Saint Bon, 20 on the western outskirts of the city. It's open M-F from 7am - 7pm and Saturday from 7am - noon, all free admission. To be inaugurated on December 17, the exhibition's organized by Fondazione Bracco, Accademia Teatro alla Scala and runs through the end of March 2013.