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
The Age of Puccini / Jonas Kaufmann
Release Date: 08/28/2015   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002359802   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Highlights) / Scotto, Bergonzi
Release Date: 10/24/2000   Label: Emi Seraphim  
Catalog: 74130   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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Puccini: Tosca / Kaufmann, Hampson, Magee, Carignani, Zurich [blu-ray]
Release Date: 04/15/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001912359   Number of Discs: 1
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Verdi: String Quartet;  Puccini / Quartetto David
Release Date: 01/28/2003   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1006   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La Bohème: Musetta's Waltz

Browse 76-100 of 134 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    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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  • 78.
    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  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 79.
    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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  • 80.
    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  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 81.
    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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  • 82.
    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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  • 83.
    Puccini - Great Opera Arias / Domingo, Te Kanawa, Et Al
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 89848 Release Date: 01/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Renata Scotto,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Placido Domingo,  José Carreras  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  John Pritchard,  Lorin Maazel,  Michael Tilson Thomas  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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  • 84.
    Great Voices Of The Past - Great Opera Ensembles
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 8003 Release Date: 01/01/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Lawrence Tibbett,  Herman Dreeben,  Nicholas Massue,  Henri Albers  ... 
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  • 85.
    O Mio Babbino Caro -famous Soprano Arias From Italian Operas
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555796 Release Date: 11/20/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Ewa Podles,  Stefka Evstatieva,  Nina Larionova,  Miriam Gauci  ... 
    Conductor:  Piergiorgio Morandi,  Alexander Rahbari,  Johannes Wildner,  Will Humburg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hungarian State Opera Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bratislava Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 86.
    Recitals - Maria Callas - Arias & Scenes
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 2101 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gasparo Spontini,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Alfredo Simonetto,  Georges Prêtre,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan,  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome  ... 
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  • 87.
    Italian Opera Arias / Gorchakova, Orbelian, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3286 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Galina Gorchakova
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 88.
    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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  • 89.
    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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  • 90.
    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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  • 91.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $20.94
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  • 92.
    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
    CD: $15.99
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  • 93.
    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
    CD: $11.99
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  • 94.
    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
    CD: $11.99
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  • 95.
    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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  • 96.
    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
    CD: $8.99
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  • 97.
    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  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 98.
    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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  • 99.
    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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  • 100.
    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  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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Giacomo Puccini