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

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 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: Manon Lescaut / Sinopoli, Te Kanawa, Domingo, Allen
Release Date: 11/18/2003   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2041   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Madama Butterfly / Voulgaridou, Damian, Joel
Release Date: 04/29/2014   Label: Arthaus Musik  
Catalog: 102187   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La Bohème: Musetta's Waltz

Browse 101-125 of 176 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Tenna Kraft - The Danish Soprano Of The 20th Century
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 603 Release Date: 03/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph Ernst F. Weyse,  Henriette Rantzau,  Fini Henriques,  Peter E. Lange-Müller  ... 
    Performer:  Tenna Kraft,  Folmer Jensen,  Louis Jensen,  Vilhelm Herold
    Conductor:  Emil Reesen,  Johan Hye-Knudsen,  Egisto Tango
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 102.
    The Romantic Harp / Yolanda Kondonassis
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80581 Release Date: 01/28/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Pierné,  Carlos Salzedo,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Yolanda Kondonassis
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 103.
    The Dream Cast - Puccini: La Bohème / Alagna, Bocelli, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472619 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Ettore Bastianini,  Carlo Bergonzi,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Herbert von Karajan,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 104.
    Operamania
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 44120 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Umberto Giordano,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Marilyn Horne,  Renata Tebaldi,  Carlo Bergonzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Patanè,  Henry Lewis,  Tullio Serafin,  Nello Santi  ... 
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  • 105.
    Opera Without Words - Aida, Tosca, Lakmé, Carmen, Etc
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 473371 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 106.
    Opera Explained - An Introduction To Puccini: La Bohème
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8558011 Release Date: 07/16/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Jonathan Welch,  Fabio Previati,  Carmen Gonzales,  Luba Orgonasova  ... 
    Conductor:  Will Humburg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Chorus,  Bratislava Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 107.
    Boston Pops Adagios - Romantic Escapes For The Dreamer In You
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63946 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Newton Wayland,  Leo Litwin,  Samuel Lipman,  Martin Hoherman
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 108.
    The #1 Soprano Album / Battle, Caballé, Fleming, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472179 Release Date: 04/09/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Traditional,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Marilyn Horne,  Barbara Bonney  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  André Previn,  Carl Davis,  Julius Rudel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Rossini Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 109.
    Sopranos - Favorite Opera / Callas, Sutherland, Caballe
    Label: Columbia River Entertainment   Catalog: 150020 Release Date: 04/02/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Monica Sinclair,  Maria Callas,  Ettore Bastianini  ... 
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  • 110.
    Italian Opera Arias / Gorchakova, Orbelian, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3286 Release Date: 02/05/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Galina Gorchakova
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 111.
    Italian Opera Arias / Domingo, Scotto, Te Kanawa, Wixell
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 89843 Release Date: 01/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Ingvar Wixell,  Placido Domingo,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Ileana Cotrubas  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard,  Lorin Maazel,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  National Theater Opera Orchestra of Paris,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 112.
    Puccini - Great Opera Arias / Domingo, Te Kanawa, Et Al
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 89848 Release Date: 01/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Renata Scotto,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Placido Domingo,  José Carreras  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  John Pritchard,  Lorin Maazel,  Michael Tilson Thomas  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 113.
    Great Voices Of The Past - Great Opera Ensembles
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 8003 Release Date: 01/01/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Lawrence Tibbett,  Herman Dreeben,  Nicholas Massue,  Henri Albers  ... 
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  • 114.
    O Mio Babbino Caro -famous Soprano Arias From Italian Operas
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555796 Release Date: 11/20/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Ewa Podles,  Stefka Evstatieva,  Nina Larionova,  Miriam Gauci  ... 
    Conductor:  Piergiorgio Morandi,  Alexander Rahbari,  Johannes Wildner,  Will Humburg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hungarian State Opera Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bratislava Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 115.
    Karajan Edition - Mozart, Mascagni, Puccini / Vienna Po
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 66393 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Ljuba Welitsch,  Irmgard Seefried,  Erich Kunz  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 116.
    Recitals - Maria Callas - Arias & Scenes
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 2101 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gasparo Spontini,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Alfredo Simonetto,  Georges Prêtre,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan,  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome  ... 
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  • 117.
    Italian Opera Arias / Gorchakova, Orbelian, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3286 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Galina Gorchakova
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 118.
    Opera Goes To The Movies
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60841 Release Date: 08/21/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Leontyne Price,  Montserrat Caballé,  Alfredo Kraus  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  James Levine,  Edward Downes,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 119.
    Essential Puccini - 36 of His Greatest Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460969 Release Date: 08/14/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  José Carreras,  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Franco Capuana,  Herbert von Karajan,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra  ... 
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  • 120.
    Opera For A Sunday Morning
    Label: Lifestyles   Catalog: 215052 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Maria Callas,  Montserrat Caballé,  Franco Corelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 121.
    Puccini's Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63755 Release Date: 02/06/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Anna Moffo,  Angela Gheorghiu,  Ben Heppner,  Birgit Nilsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Tullio Serafin,  Edward Downes,  Roberto Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 122.
    The Ultimate Puccini Divas Album / Caballe, Fleming, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467382 Release Date: 11/14/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Birgit Nilsson,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Leontyne Price  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Herbert von Karajan,  Nello Santi,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra  ... 
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  • 123.
    Sopranos - Callas, Sutherland, Price And Caballe
    Label: Columbia River Entertainment   Catalog: 315002 Release Date: 10/17/2000   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Monica Sinclair,  Maria Callas,  Franco Corelli  ... 
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  • 124.
    Renée Fleming
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467049 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Voices
    CD: $15.99
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  • 125.
    Jewel Song - 20 Great Soprano Arias / Crespin, Freni, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458230 Release Date: 09/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Sumi Jo,  Kirsten Flagstad,  Kathleen Battle,  Virginia Zeani  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Franco Patanè,  Giuseppe Patané  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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