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: La Boheme / Schippers, Pavarotti, Freni, Et Al
Release Date: 09/16/1997   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1143   Number of Discs: 2
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Puccini: Madama Butterfly / Basile, Scotto, Cioni, Et Al
Release Date: 02/17/1998   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1150   Number of Discs: 2
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Verdi, Giordano, Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo: Overtures, Intermezzos / Licata, RPO
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28440   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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Puccini: Turandot / Votto, Nilsson, Carteri, La Scala
Release Date: 07/18/2000   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1256   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: La Bohème: Musetta's Waltz

Browse 76-100 of 168 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    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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  • 78.
    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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  • 79.
    Opera - Greatest Hits
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000395502 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Helga Jenckel,  Liselotte Rebmann,  Danica Mastilovic  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  Herbert von Karajan,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 80.
    Netrebko - Anna Netrebko, The Woman The Voice
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000370509 Release Date: 11/23/2004  
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Anna Netrebko
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 81.
    The # 1 Puccini Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000300702 Release Date: 08/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi,  Rolando Panerai,  Elizabeth Harwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana,  Herbert von Karajan,  Zubin Mehta,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 82.
    Masters Of The Voice - Soprano / Battle, Fleming, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000273702 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Francesco Cilèa,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  June Anderson,  Giovanni Foiani,  Silvio Maionica  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Leonard Bernstein,  Franco Capuana,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 83.
    Bella Tuscany - Music Inspired By Tuscany
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80644 Release Date: 06/22/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Patterson,  Yolanda Kondonassis,  Angel Romero,  Fernando De La Mora
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel,  Rudolf Werthen,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Louis Lane  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  Orchestra of Flanders,  May Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 84.
    Classic Library - Puccini Heroines / Leontyne Price
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 59420 Release Date: 04/20/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Elisabeth Bainbridge,  Placido Domingo,  Daniele Barioni
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Nello Santi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
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  • 85.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Adele Kern
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89586 Release Date: 03/30/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Ambroise Thomas,  Karl Gottfried Taubert  ... 
    Performer:  Adele Kern,  Elfriede Marherr-Wagner,  Elisabeth Ohms
    Conductor:  Alois Melichar,  Frieder Weissmann,  Hermann Weigert,  Julius Prüwer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin City Opera Orchestra
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  • 86.
    Original Masters - Rita Streich - The Viennese Nightingale
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 474738 Release Date: 12/01/2003   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini,  Otto Nicolai,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Rita Streich,  Erik Werba,  Günther Weissenborn,  Marianne Schech  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Rother,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Kurt Gaebel,  Karl Böhm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus  ... 
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  • 87.
    Maria Callas - Live In Paris 1963 And 1976
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62685 Release Date: 11/04/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Jeffrey Tate
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
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  • 88.
    Puccini: Opera Arias / Pavarotti, Freni, Sutherland, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000122702 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Bruno Prevedi,  Leona Mitchell,  Virginia Zeani,  Michel Sénéchal  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Franco Patanè,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra  ... 
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  • 89.
    Anna Netrebko - Opera Arias / Noseda, Vienna Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000099002 Release Date: 09/09/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Antonín Dvorák,  Charles Gounod,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Netrebko
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 90.
    Puccini: Tosca / Erde, Tebaldi, Campora, Mascherini, Et Al
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 199 Release Date: 08/26/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Gian Franco Volante,  Antonio Sacchetti,  Piero de Palma,  Dario Caselli  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Chamber Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus
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  • 91.
    The Voice of Opera - Tebaldi, Horne, Pavarotti...
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000024602 Release Date: 05/13/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  George Gershwin,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Pears,  Roberta Alexander,  Simon Estes,  Helen Donath  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten,  Leonard Slatkin,  Sir Georg Solti,  Eugen Jochum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 92.
    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
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  • 93.
    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
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  • 94.
    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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  • 95.
    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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  • 96.
    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  ... 
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  • 97.
    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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  • 98.
    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  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 99.
    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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  • 100.
    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  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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Giacomo Puccini