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: Turandot / Maazel, Marton, Carreras, Ricciarelli
Release Date: 06/30/2015   Label: Arthaus Musik  
Catalog: 109094   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini Discoveries / Chailly, Calleja, Urbanova, Et Al
Release Date: 04/13/2004   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 475320   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La Bohème: Musetta's Waltz

Browse 101-125 of 153 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    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  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 102.
    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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  • 103.
    Puccini: Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Etc / Freni, Ramey, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469175 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Anthony Laciura,  Ralf Lukas,  Mirella Freni,  Samuel Ramey  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Tullio Serafin,  Herbert von Karajan,  Bruno Bartoletti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Childrens Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 104.
    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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  • 105.
    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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  • 106.
    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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  • 107.
    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
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  • 108.
    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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  • 109.
    Queen Of The Night - Electric Eclectic Opera / B.j. Ward
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 252 Release Date: 02/15/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Douglas Moore,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Alfredo Catalani,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  B.J. Ward,  Michael Sushel,  George Hearn
    Conductor:  Andy Waterman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Synthony Orchestra
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  • 110.
    Prima Voce - Alma Gluck
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7904 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Robert Johnson,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Alma Gluck
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  • 111.
    Maria Callas - The 1958 Los Angeles Concert
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1182 Release Date: 12/28/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ambroise Thomas,  Giacomo Puccini,  Arrigo Boito  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 112.
    Puccini: La Boheme - Highlights / Solti, Caballe, Domingo
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63493 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Vincente Sardinero,  Judith Blegen,  Ruggero Raimondi  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
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  • 113.
    Dorothy Warenskjold - A Treasury Of Operatic Heroines
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1111 Release Date: 06/29/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franco Leoni  ... 
    Performer:  Dorothy Warenskjold
    Conductor:  Gaetano Merola,  Fausto Cleva,  Arthur Fiedler,  Eugen Szenkar  ... 
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  • 114.
    Four Famous Sopranos Of The Past
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89966 Release Date: 12/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Irene Eisinger,  Fritzi Jokl,  Lotte Schöne,  Luise Szabó
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  • 115.
    Renata Scotto - Italian Opera Arias
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60524 Release Date: 09/22/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Scotto,  Elena Obraztsova,  Renato Bruson
    Conductor:  James Levine,  John Pritchard,  Lorin Maazel,  Eve Queler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Opera Orchestra of New York,  Schola Cantorum New York  ... 
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  • 116.
    Amore - Opera's Greatest Romances / Price, Domingo, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63299 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Cesare Valletti,  Anna Moffo,  Rosalind Elias,  Alan Titus  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Rafael Kubelik,  Sir Colin Davis,  Jonel Perlea  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus  ... 
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  • 117.
    Amor - Opera's Great Love Songs
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458201 Release Date: 08/11/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Mirella Freni,  Frederica Von Stade  ... 
    Conductor:  Henry Lewis,  Zubin Mehta,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 118.
    Von Der Königlichen Hofoper Zur Staatsoper Unter Den Linden
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89403 Release Date: 07/21/1998   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Tiana Lemnitz,  Josef Mann,  Ludwig Suthaus,  Paula Buchner  ... 
    On sale! $104.98
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  • 119.
    Four Austrian Sopranos Of The Past
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89973 Release Date: 07/04/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Hilde Konetzni,  Maria Reining,  Luise Helletsgruber,  Berta Kiurina
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  • 120.
    The Ultimate Puccini Collection / Pavarotti, Carreras, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460380 Release Date: 06/09/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Montserrat Caballé,  Angela Gheorghiu  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  John Mauceri,  Herbert von Karajan,  Alberto Erede  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  Turin Teatro Regio Orchestra  ... 
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  • 121.
    Puccini: La Boheme (Highlights) / Callas, Di Stefano
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 66670 Release Date: 06/02/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Manuel Spatafora,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Rolando Panerai,  Anna Moffo  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 122.
    Puccini Gala - Famous Arias / Caballé, Carreras, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458212 Release Date: 05/12/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Montserrat Caballé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Tom Krause  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Lorin Maazel,  Nello Santi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra  ... 
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  • 123.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Xenia Belmas Vol 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89153 Release Date: 01/20/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Jules Massenet,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Xenia Belmas
    Conductor:  Alexander Kitschin
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  • 124.
    Bidu Sayao - La Damoiselle Elue, Opera Arias
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 63221 Release Date: 12/09/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Bidu Sayao,  Rosalind Nadell
    Conductor:  Pietro Cimara,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Fausto Cleva,  Paul Breisach  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Concert Orchestra  ... 
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  • 125.
    Le Delizie Dell'amor / Andrea Rost, Mackerras
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62789 Release Date: 10/07/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Andrea Rost,  Aquiles Machado
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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Giacomo Puccini