Giacomo Puccini

Biography

Born: 1858   Died: 1924   Country: Italy  
Giacomo Puccini was the most important composer of Italian opera after Verdi. He wrote in the verismo style, a counterpart to the movement of Realism in literature and a trend that favored subjects and characters from everyday life for opera. On his often commonplace settings Puccini lavished memorable melodies and lush orchestration. It was around the turn of the twentieth century that he reached his artistic zenith, composing in succession his Read more three most popular and effective operas, La Bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly.

Young Giacomo took organ lessons early on from his uncle, Fortunato Magi, and later from Carlo Angeloni. At ten, he sang in local church choirs and by age 14 was freelancing as an organist at religious services. His first compositions were for organ, often incorporating operatic and folk elements. By age 18, under the spell of Verdi's Aida, he decided he would study composition with a view to writing opera. At around this time, he composed his first large-scale work, a cantata, Preludio Sinfonico, for an 1877 competition. Other pieces came in the next few years, but none of significance.

In 1880, Puccini entered the Milan Conservatory, where he studied for three years under Ponchielli and Bazzini. While there, he wrote his first opera, Le villi, which he once more entered in a competition. Though he lost, Arrigo Boito and, more importantly, publisher Giulio Ricordi helped arrange a premiere in Milan on May 31, 1884. The work was enthusiastically received, and Puccini was on his way.

Around this time the composer met Elvira Gemignani, wife of a merchant in Lucca. They carried on an illicit affair, and she gave birth to his son in 1886. When her husband died in 1904, the two were married. Puccini's next opera, Edgar, was poorly received at its 1889 premiere. Subsequent revisions failed to rescue it from its encumbering libretto. His next effort, however, Manon Lescaut, was a sensational success at its 1893 Turin premiere. Subsequent performances in Italy and abroad bolstered the composer's growing reputation.

Puccini's next three operas confirmed his preeminence in Italian opera. La Bohème (1896), Tosca (1900), and Madama Butterfly (1904) were not immediately as successful as Manon Lescaut, but in time achieved greater acclaim. By the middle of the twentieth century, they had become -- and remain today -- his most often performed and recorded works.

Puccini suffered a creative dry spell for a time and was unable to finish another opera until the moderately successful La fanciulla del West (1910), which premiered in New York with Toscanini conducting and Caruso singing the role of Johnson. His sluggishness of inspiration owed much to charges by his wife he was having an affair with a servant girl, charges that drove the hapless, and as it turned out, innocent young girl to suicide in 1909.

In 1913, Puccini accepted a lucrative commission from Vienna interests, which resulted in La rondine. Received warmly at its 1917 Monte Carlo premiere, it faded under the judgment it was the least of his operatic efforts. Puccini followed this disappointment with his trilogy of one-act operas, Il trittico -- comprised of Il tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi -- all premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1918. Only the latter work, a comedy, was well received.

While Puccini was working on his last opera, Turandot, he was diagnosed with throat cancer (1923). During radiation treatment in Brussels, he suffered a heart attack and died on November 29, 1924. Read less

Puccini DVD 4-Pack - La Boheme, Tosca, Le Villi, Edgar
Release Date: 04/07/2014   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4941   Number of Discs: 4
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Puccini Blu-ray 3-Pack - Tosca, La Boheme, Manon Lescaut
Release Date: 04/07/2014   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4944   Number of Discs: 3
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Verdi, Giordano, Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo: Overtures, Intermezzos / Licata
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28440   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Highlights From La Boheme & Madama Butterfly / Rutter, Abell
Release Date: 11/11/2008   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28300   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: La Bohème / Freni, Pavarotti
Release Date: 11/30/1999   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La Bohème: Si, mi chiamano Mimì

Browse 1-25 of 282 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
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  • 2.
    Opera Recital / Jarmila Novotna
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4158 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jarmila Novotná
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  • 3.
    Kiri Te Kanawa - Opera Arias
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564635295 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Gustave Charpentier,  Claude Debussy,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Roger Vignoles,  Andrew Schulman
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano,  Jeffrey Tate,  Julius Rudel,  Myung-Whun Chung
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon Opera Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $22.49
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  • 4.
    Richard Tucker - The Opera Recital Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543283 Release Date: 08/06/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tucker,  Dorothy Kirsten,  Eileen Farrell,  Daniza Ilitsch
    Conductor:  Fausto Cleva,  Nello Santi,  Franz Allers,  Wilfrid Pelletier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Fausto Cleva,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 5.
    Callas Sings Puccini
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1234 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Lucia Danieli,  Nicolai Gedda
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Madama Butterfly
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2070 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Tito Gobbi,  Anna Maria Canali,  Maria Huder,  Renato Ercolani  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Giuseppe Morelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Rome Opera House Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Modest Prima Donna
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1232 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alfredo Catalani,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Giannella Borelli,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Gerald Moore  ... 
    Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Giuseppe Morelli,  Walter Susskind  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Puccini: Suor Angelica / De Los Angeles, Barbieri, Serafin
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1306 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Fedora Barbieri,  Mina Doro,  Jussi Björling
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus,  RCA Victor Orchestra
    On sale! $13.98
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  • 9.
    The Opera Album
    Label: Acanta/Pilz   Catalog: 233707 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Bonisolli,  Mirella Freni,  Gudrun Schäfer,  Sesto [Baritone Vocal] Bruscantini
    Conductor:  Leone Magiera,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Ino Savini
    CD: $24.99
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  • 10.
    Rosanna Carteri: A Discographic Career
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 255 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Rosanna Carteri,  Giuseppe Taddei,  Luigi Alva,  Rina Allesandri Maccagnani  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Mario Rossi,  Tullio Serafin,  Alfredo Simonetto  ... 
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 11.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7700915 Release Date: 05/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Fedora Barbieri
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto,  Tullio Serafin,  Sir Malcolm Sargent
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  • 12.
    Montserrat Caballe - The Diva [6-CD Set]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548834 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Maya Sunara,  Corinna Vozza,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Anton Guadagno,  Carlo Felice Cillario,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra London,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 13.
    The Very Best Of Mirella Freni
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 164942 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Gedda,  Michèle Vilma,  Franco Corelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Thomas Schippers,  Leone Magiera,  Antonino Votto  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    60 Jahre Munchner Rundfunkorchester: Great Singers Live
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900309 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Lucia Popp,  Hermann Prey  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ghiaurov,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Georges Prêtre,  Alfredo Antonini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
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  • 15.
    Verona Live
    Label: Acanta/Pilz   Catalog: 233553 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Leo Nucci,  Ghena Dimitrova,  Peter Dvorsky,  Sona Ghazarian  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Franci,  José Collado
    CD: $24.99
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  • 16.
    Essential Opera Divas
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 234522 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Patrizia Ciofi,  Véronique Gens,  Jessye Norman  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Fabio Biondi,  Christophe Rousset,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Puccini: The Great Operas [13-CD Set]
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9011 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  John Reardon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Victor De Sabata,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Giuseppe Morelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Columbus Boychoir,  RCA Victor Chorus  ... 
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  • 18.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 51767 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  George Frideric Handel,  Erik Satie  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 19.
    Dreamticket To La Boheme
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 21002 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Margherita Carosio,  Marcel [Tenor Vocals] Wittrisch  ... 
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 20.
    Icon: Maria Callas - La Divina
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 23401 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Morresi,  Ebe Stignani,  Raffaele Arié  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $42.99
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  • 21.
    Mirella Freni: The First Recitals 1959-1961
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93481 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Georges Bizet,  Pietro Mascagni,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Gino Del Ferro,  Viktor Remsey
    Conductor:  Ino Savini,  Argeo Quadri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Label: Simply   Catalog: 1206108 Release Date: 09/04/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  George Frideric Handel,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Joszef Mukle,  Alberto Cupido,  Graciela Alperyn  ... 
    Conductor:  Camerata Budapest,  László Kovács,  Martin Elmquist,  Alexander Rahbari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scholars Baroque Ensemble,  I Solisti Italiani
    On sale! $29.99
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  • 23.
    Maria Callas - The Live Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 59794 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Léo Delibes,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Nicola Rescigno,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Jeffrey Tate
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Georges Prêtre,  Nicola Rescigno,  Alfredo Simonetto  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  ORTF National Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $55.98
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  • 24.
    Maria Callas - The Studio Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 59776 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Monica Sinclair,  John Lanigan,  Joseph Rouleau  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre,  Antonio Tonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
    CD: $54.99
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  • 25.
    Voices Of Italian Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40509 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Edita Gruberova,  Margherita Carosio,  Francesco Meli  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Evelino Pidò  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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