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
Renata Tebaldi - The Classic Puccini Recordings
Release Date: 03/11/2003   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 473045   Number of Discs: 12
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Puccini: La Boheme - A Film By Robert Dornhelm / Netrebko, Villazon [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 12/15/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4601   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Tosca / Mehta, Domingo, Malfitano, Raimondi
Release Date: 06/25/2013   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4602   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: La Bohème / Karajan, Freni, Pavarotti, Et Al
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 421049   Number of Discs: 2
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Puccini: Turandot / Mehta, Sutherland, Pavarotti, Caballé
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 414274   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: La Bohème: Donde lieta uscì

Browse 1-25 of 163 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Voices of Firestone II DVD 4-Pack
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4985 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Vincenzo D'Annibale  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Franco Corelli,  Eleanor Steber,  Lauritz Melchior  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilfrid Pelletier,  Howard Barlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Maria Callas Remastered - Complete Studio Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633991 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Richard Wagner,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Gianni Poggi,  Fedora Barbieri,  Paolo Silveri  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Antonino Votto,  Gabriele Santini,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Turin,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $279.99
    CD: $254.99
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  • 3.
    Maria Meneghini Callas Sings Operatic Arias By Puccini
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634017 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 4.
    Pure / Maria Callas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633994 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
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  • 5.
    Angela Gheorghiu: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002131302 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Alfredo Catalani,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Daniela Vendemiati,  Giuseppe Crott,  Malcolm Martineau
    Conductor:  John Mauceri,  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Turin Teatro Regio Chorus,  Turin Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
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  • 6.
    Italian Soprano Arias / Maria Luigia Borsi, Yves Abel, LSO
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 573412 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ottorino Respighi,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alfredo Catalani
    Performer:  Maria Luigia Borsi
    Conductor:  Yves Abel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 7.
    Waldbuhne / Fleming, Bronfman, Chailly, Marin, Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 59988 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Igor Stravinsky,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Yefim Bronfman,  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Ion Marin,  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Waldbuhne / Fleming, Bronfman, Chailly, Marin, Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 59984 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Igor Stravinsky,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Yefim Bronfman,  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Ion Marin,  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $64.99
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  • 9.
    Voices of Firestone DVD 4-Pack - Bjorling, Sutherland, Merrill, Stevens
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4938 Release Date: 04/07/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Georges Bizet,  Rudolf Friml,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Risë Stevens,  Jussi Björling,  Anne-Lisa Björling,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Howard Barlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voice of Firestone Orchestra
    On sale! $34.99
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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! $18.98
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  • 16.
    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! $35.98
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 79914 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jake Heggie,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Joyce DiDonato,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Rachel Frenkel  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Marco Armiliato,  Patrick Summers,  Jean-Christophe Spinosi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Matheus,  English Concert,  tenThing (Brass Ensemble)  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    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,  Maria Cebotari  ... 
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 21.
    Icon: Maria Callas - La Divina
    Label: Warner 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  ... 
    On sale! $41.99
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    Victoria From The Heart: Love Songs
    Label: Columna Musica   Catalog: 252 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Paul A. Martini,  Gabriel Fauré,  Reynaldo Hahn,  Joseph Canteloube  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles
    On sale! $17.98
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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  ... 
    On sale! $53.99
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  • 25.
    Great Opera
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501054 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Adrianne Pieczonka,  Boje Skovhus,  Renato Girolami,  Janusz Monarcha  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Will Humburg,  Alexander Rahbari,  Rico Saccani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Hungarian Radio Chorus,  Failoni Orchestra Budapest  ... 
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