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
Strauss, Verdi, Puccini: String Quartets / Enso Quartet
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 573108   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Turandot / Mehta, Bocceli, Wilson, Agullo, Olvera
Release Date: 07/31/2015   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002338202   Number of Discs: 2
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Puccini: Messa Di Gloria, Etc / Morandi, Palombi, Et Al
Release Date: 02/19/2002   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8555304   Number of Discs: 1
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The Best Of Puccini
Release Date: 10/20/1997   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8556670   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Manon Lescaut (Highlights) / Rahbari, Gauci, Et Al
Release Date: 07/18/2000   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8554705   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La Bohème: Musetta's Waltz

Browse 51-75 of 152 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    The Village Band - A Nostalgic Recollection By Canadian Brass
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 4436 Release Date: 07/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Strauss,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Romm,  Eugene Watts,  Charles Daellenbach,  Frederic Mills  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass
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  • 52.
    Peter Anders Vol 3 - Puccini
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10010 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender,  Hilde Gueden,  Trude Eipperle,  Peter Anders  ... 
    Conductor:  Hanns Steinkopf,  Arthur Rother,  Clemens Krauss,  Franz Marszalek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart State Opera Orchestra
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  • 53.
    Hilde Gueden - Recordings 1942-1955
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10341 Release Date: 05/14/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Hilde Gueden,  Fernando Corena,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Léopold Simoneau  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Josef Krips,  Unknown  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 54.
    Nicole Cabell - Soprano
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000659002 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Nicole Cabell
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Opera In English - Puccini Passions
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 3140 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mary Plazas,  Dennis O'Neill,  Jane Eaglen,  Gregory Yurisich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Children's Choir,  Geoffrey Mitchell Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 56.
    The Berlin Concert: Live From The Waldbühne / Domingo, Netrebko, Villazón
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000870409 Release Date: 04/10/2007  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pablo Sorozabal,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Anna Netrebko,  Rolando Villazón
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
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  • 57.
    Return To Sorrento - Italian Songs Arranged For Trombone
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570232 Release Date: 03/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto De Curtis,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Alessi,  Warren Jones,  Barbara Allen
    Conductor:  Virginia Allen,  Sam Pilafian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alessi Street Band,  Extension Ensemble,  Juilliard School Trombone Choir  ... 
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  • 58.
    Maria Callas - The Live Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 68022 Release Date: 11/21/2006   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Jeffrey Tate,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Nicola Rescigno
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre,  Alfredo Simonetto,  Nicola Rescigno,  Sir Malcolm Sargent  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  ORTF National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 59.
    Puccini Passion / Barker, Bonynge, Orchestra Victoria
    Label: Melba   Catalog: 301085 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Cheryl Barker
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Victoria Symphony Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Opera D'oro At The Movies / Pavarotti, Callas, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1010 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Léo Delibes,  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Alessandra Ruffini,  Serena Lazzarini,  Franco Corelli,  Elizabeth Harwood  ... 
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  • 61.
    Everybody's Opera
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000707102 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Tatiana Troyanos,  José Carreras,  Katia Ricciarelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Sir Georg Solti,  Zubin Mehta,  György Fischer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 62.
    Prima Voce - Lucrezia Bori In Opera & Song
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7932 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alexander Glazunov,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Joaquin Valverde,  Edwick Rumbold  ... 
    Performer:  Lucrezia Bori,  John McCormack,  Lawrence Tibbett,  George Copeland
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Rosario Bourdon,  Nathaniel Shilkret,  Frank Black
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Eileen Farrell - Puccini Arias / Rudolf, Columbia SO
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 78763 Release Date: 08/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell
    Conductor:  Max Rudolf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Puccini Without Words
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000688202 Release Date: 07/04/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Concert Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Karaoke Opera 2 - Divas
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 112 Release Date: 04/11/2006  
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
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  • 66.
    Highlights From The Royal Opera / Various
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4044 Release Date: 02/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Strauss,  Jacques Offenbach
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Barbara Hendricks,  Dalmacio Gonzalez  ... 
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  • 67.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Richard Tucker Vol 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89637 Release Date: 02/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tucker,  Dorothy Kirsten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Fausto Cleva
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  • 68.
    Weekend Classics - A Puccini Weekend
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000583402 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Gianni Poggi,  Renata Scotto,  Giorgio Giorgetti,  Virgilio Carbonari  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Reinhard Peters
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 69.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Bidu Sayao
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89624 Release Date: 11/29/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Bidu Sayao
    Conductor:  Fausto Cleva,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Pietro Cimara
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Gala Concert 300 Years Of St. Petersburg / Termikanov, Netrebko, Hvorostovsky
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053408 Release Date: 11/15/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Max Bruch,  Ottorino Respighi,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Netrebko,  Dmitri Hvorostovsky,  Mischa Maisky,  Eliso Virsaladze  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov,  Nikolai Alekseev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 71.
    The Very Best Of Puccini
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8552119-20 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Miriam Gauci,  Alberto Rinaldi,  Giorgio Lamberti,  Miroslav Dvorsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Rahbari,  Michael Halász,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Will Humburg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bratislava Philharmonic Chorus,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava  ... 
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  • 72.
    Verdi & Puccini / Kiri Te Kanawa, Pritchard, London Po
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 92605 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Maurice Duruflé,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Frederica Von Stade,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Ileana Cotrubas,  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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  • 73.
    Romantic Interludes
    Label: Gramercy Arts Ensemble   Catalog: 5637313317 Release Date: 09/06/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giacomo Puccini,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
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  • 74.
    Raina Kabaivanska - Live In Concert
    Label: Fabula Classica   Catalog: 29913 Release Date: 05/31/2005  
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Raina Kabaivanska
    Conductor:  Nino Bonavolontà
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
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  • 75.
    Puccini: La Bohème (Highlights) / Serafin, Tebaldi, Et Al
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000412802 Release Date: 03/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi,  Renata Tebaldi,  Cesare Siepi,  Ettore Bastianini  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Alberto Erede,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Chamber Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
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Giacomo Puccini