I am proudly and incurably a Puccini addict. There's not many other composers that combine such a lush surface with so many arresting, idiosyncratic details of harmony and orchestration—Messiaen, maybe, at least among this year's anniversary composers. It's sometimes startling to pick apart a Puccini score and realize just how many completely left-field things are going on beneath that gleaming hood. This is a guy who made parallel octaves a viable harmonic resource, after all.
For Puccini's 150th birthday, three versions of "In questa reggia" from Turandot. FIrst: Dame Eva Turner, who heard the premiere, first sang the role less than a year later, and recorded the aria in 1928.
Next is my personal favorite, Eva Marton singing at the 100th Anniversary Met Gala in 1983. (The non sequiter set is a David Hockney design for Les Mamelles des Tirésias.)
And finally: Puccini's music has carved out a small footprint for itself in popular culture, with varying degrees of success (do you really want to hear Neil Sedaka sing "Nessun dorma"?), but this Bob Belden big-band arrangement of (the first half of) "In questa reggia" (with Wallace Roney on trumpet) is pretty cool.