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
Jonas Kaufmann – An Evening with Puccini
Release Date: 04/01/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 513024   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: La Boheme - A Film by Robert Dornhelm / Netrebko, Villazon
Release Date: 12/15/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4601   Number of Discs: 1
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Jonas Kaufmann – An Evening with Puccini [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 04/01/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 513025   Number of Discs: 1
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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: Tosca / Marton, Wixell, Aragall, Et Al
Release Date: 06/28/2005   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2837   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La Bohème: Musetta's Waltz

Browse 101-113 of 113 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Puccini: La Bohème (Highlights) / Humburg, Orgonasova, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553151 Release Date: 03/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luba Orgonasova,  Ivan Urbas,  Fabio Previati,  Jonathan Welch  ... 
    Conductor:  Will Humburg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava,  Slovak State Philharmonic Chorus
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  • 102.
    Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy - My Favorite Opera For Everyone
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443818 Release Date: 08/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Huguette Tourangeau,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  Giuseppe Patané,  Richard Bonynge,  Nicola Rescigno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 103.
    Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy - My Favorite Puccini
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443819 Release Date: 08/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Renata Tebaldi,  Pilar Lorengar,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Giuseppe Patané  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 104.
    Classical Jukebox Vol II
    Label: Cbs Composers'greatest Hits   Catalog: 45737 Release Date: 07/01/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Aram Khachaturian,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Ivan Davis
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 105.
    Puccini Without Words / Kostelanetz & His Orchestra
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 46285 Release Date: 07/01/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 106.
    Pops Plays Puccini / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80260 Release Date: 03/14/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  May Festival Chorus
    CD: $16.99
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  • 107.
    Leontyne Price - Puccini Heroines
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 5999 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Daniele Barioni,  Leontyne Price,  Placido Domingo,  Elisabeth Bainbridge
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Edward Downes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 108.
    Puccini: Arias / Eva Martón, Patané, Munich Rso
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 42167 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Eva Martón
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 109.
    Puccini: La Boheme - Highlights / Karajan, Pavarotti, Freni
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421245 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Rolando Panerai,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Gianni Maffeo,  Elizabeth Harwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Schöneberg Boys Choir
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  • 110.
    Verdi & Puccini / Kiri Te Kanawa, Pritchard, London PO
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 37298 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Maurice Duruflé,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Frederica Von Stade,  Ileana Cotrubas,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Siegmund Nimsgern  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  National Theater Opera Orchestra of Paris  ... 
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  • 111.
    Opera Without Words - Arias For Orchestra
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 44999 Release Date: 11/20/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $8.99
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  • 112.
    The Orchestra Sings - Great Operatic Themes For Orchestra / Dragon, Newman
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65430 Release Date: 11/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Conductor:  Carmen Dragon,  Alfred Newman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capitol Symphony Orchestra,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 113.
    The Young Kiri: The Early Recordings 1964-70
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 430325 Release Date: 01/1991   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Princess Te Rangi Pai,  Traditional,  John Lennon  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
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