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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: Musetta's Waltz

Browse 26-50 of 168 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Guido Deiro: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3
    Label: Archeophone   Catalog: 5018 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guido Pietro Deiro,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Guido Pietro Deiro
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  • 27.
    The Ultimate Puccini Opera Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578066-67 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luba Orgonasova,  Jonathan Welch,  Thomas Harper,  Miriam Gauci  ... 
    Conductor:  Will Humburg,  Alexander Rahbari,  Michael Halász,  Ondrej Lenárd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Choir,  Belgian Radio And Television Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 28.
    111 - The Collector's Edition 2 [56-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4779142 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Stuart Harling,  Robert Lloyd,  Sherrill Milnes,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Nelson,  Leonard Bernstein,  Jerzy Semkow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  George Watson's College Boys' Chorus  ... 
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  • 29.
    Puccini: Opera Arias / Angela Gheorghiu
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65938 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Roberto Alagna
    Conductor:  Anton Coppola,  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Le Donne Nell'opera Italiana
    Label: Tactus   Catalog: 790003 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Federica Zanello,  Paola Devoti,  Elena Cecconi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Le Pleiadi
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  • 31.
    Label: Katie Kat Opera   Catalog: 5637602477 Release Date: 02/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Claude Debussy,  Richard Strauss,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Katie Kat
    CD: $14.99
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  • 32.
    Puccini: La Boheme (Highlights) / De Billy, Villazon, Netrebko
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001223702 Release Date: 11/23/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Nicole Cabell,  Anna Netrebko,  Stèphane Degout,  Rolando Villazón  ... 
    Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Puccini: La Boheme - Original Soundtrack Highlights / Hendricks, Carreras, Conlon
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 75458 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  José Carreras,  Richard Cowan,  Gino Quilico  ... 
    Conductor:  James Conlon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  Radio France Chorus
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  • 34.
    111 Years Of Deutsche Grammophon [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001341002 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Hubert Giesen,  Helmut Walcha  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Daniele Callegari,  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Richter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan  ... 
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  • 35.
    300 Years Of St. Petersburg - Gala Concert / Temirkanov, Netrebko, Hvorostovsky [Blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053404 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Maurice Ravel,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Viktor Tretyakov,  Eliso Virsaladze,  Anna Netrebko,  Dmitri Hvorostovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov,  Nikolai Alekseev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Divos & Divas
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001305902 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Olga Borodina,  Nicole Cabell,  Anna Netrebko  ... 
    Conductor:  Julius Rudel,  Sir Georg Solti,  Carlo Rizzi,  Sir Andrew Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Welsh National Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 37.
    50 Classics For Relaxation / Ingman, Gerhardt, Gamley, Et Al
    Label: Time/Life Music   Catalog: 24742 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Paul A. Martini  ... 
    Performer:  Keith Harvey,  José Luis Garcia,  Larry Dalton,  Skaila Kanga  ... 
    Conductor:  David Firman,  Franck Pourcel,  Charles Gerhardt,  Eric Hammerstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Franck Pourcel Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 38.
    Label: Sally Fletcher   Catalog: 5637320925 Release Date: 05/05/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Giacomo Puccini,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Sally Fletcher
    CD: $18.99
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  • 39.
    Ultimate Puccini - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280502 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Enzo Sordello,  Renata Tebaldi,  Angelo Mercuriali  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Sir Colin Davis,  Riccardo Muti,  Alberto Erede  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 40.
    Best Puccini 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64766 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Roberto Alagna,  Thomas Hampson,  Birgit Nilsson,  Franco Corelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Lovro von Matacic,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  London Voices  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 41.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Puccini Spectacular / Camarata, Kingsway So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 452490 Release Date: 01/07/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Conductor:  Tutti Camarata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kingsway Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Amarilli Nizza - Puccini Recital
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 595 Release Date: 11/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Amarilli Nizza
    Conductor:  Gianluca Martinenghi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrava Dvorak Theater Orchestra
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  • 43.
    The Berlin Concert: Live From The Waldbühne / Domingo, Netrebko, Villazón [Blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001208459 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pablo Sorozabal,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Anna Netrebko,  Placido Domingo
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $32.99
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  • 44.
    100 Best Puccini
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 236677 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mario Sereni,  Nicolai Gedda,  Mirella Freni,  Ferruccio Mazzoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers,  Georges Prêtre,  Gabriele Santini,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
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  • 45.
    Puccini 2008 - Nessun Dorma / Callas, Te Kanawa, Carreras, Domingo, Alagna, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17620 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Roberto Alagna,  Renata Scotto,  Alfredo Kraus,  Mario Sereni  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  James Levine,  Thomas Schippers,  Anton Guadagno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra  ... 
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  • 46.
    The Complete Conchita Supervia Vol 3 - Parlophone And Odeon 1930-1932
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52060 Release Date: 10/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modesto Pomero,  Federico Longás Torres,  Juan Manén,  D'Hardelot  ... 
    Performer:  Conchita Supervia,  Pedro Vallribera,  Ivor Newton,  Alejandro Vilalta  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Minssart,  Gustav Cloëz,  Unknown,  Antonio Capdevila
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Prima Voce - Hilde Guden
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7952 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Hilde Gueden
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  • 48.
    Gala Tribute To Tchaikovsky / Domingo, Te Kanawa, Royal Ballet
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 1488 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Sergei Leiferkus,  Placido Domingo,  Anna Tomowa-Sintow,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
    Conductor:  Placido Domingo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Bergonzi, Kabaivanska, Freni, Siepi, Berganza
    Label: Fabula Classica   Catalog: 610 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Raina Kabaivanska,  Cesare Siepi,  Mirella Freni,  Carlo Bergonzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Nino Bonavolontà,  Bruno Amaducci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana,  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Orchestra
    On sale! $119.98
    DVD: $93.99
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  • 50.
    The Puccini Experience / Mehta, Italian Radio So Rome, Italian Radio Chorus Rome
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 510974 Release Date: 05/20/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Géza Szilvay,  Csaba Szilvay,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Catherine Malfitano  ... 
    Conductor:  Kent Nagano,  Zubin Mehta,  James Conlon,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Strings,  Lyon Opera Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome  ... 
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