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

Work: Tosca: Recondita armonia

Browse 1-25 of 205 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Decca Sound: 55 Great Vocal Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002495002 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Gustave Charpentier,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Suzanne Danco,  Pierre Mollet,  Guido Agosti,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Ernest Ansermet,  Karl Böhm,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $134.49
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  • 2.
    Arias & Scenes from Operas / Anjaparidze
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002373 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Zurab Anjaparidze,  Oleg Klenov,  Tamara Milashkina,  Valentina Levko
    Conductor:  Mark Ermler,  Boris Khaikin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Bolshoi Theatre Chorus
    CD: $18.99
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  • 3.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 4.
    Domingo: The 50 Greatest Tracks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002412702 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Ileana Cotrubas,  Hans Sotin,  Robin Leggate  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Claudio Abbado,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 5.
    The Mario Lanza Collection
    Label: Acrobat Records   Catalog: 7091 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Emanuele Nutile,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Bronislaw Kaper  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Lanza
    On sale! $24.99
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  • 6.
    Nessun Dorma: The Puccini Album / Kaufmann [Vinyl]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875092491 Release Date: 10/16/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Kristine Opolais
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
    LP: $29.99
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  • 7.
    Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: The 3 Tenors Sing Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Bizet, Wagner And More
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88697757882 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  José Carreras,  Placido Domingo
    CD: $6.99
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  • 8.
    Nessun Dorma - The Puccini Album / Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 509249 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Kristine Opolais
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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    CD: $14.99
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  • 9.
    Nessun Dorma - The Puccini Album / Jonas Kaufmann [Deluxe Edition]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 509248 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Kristine Opolais
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    The Three Tenors: 25th Anniversary Edition [CD & DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002350600 Release Date: 08/21/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Placido Domingo,  Luciano Pavarotti
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 11.
    Pavarotti Plus: Live from the Royal Albert Hall
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002055209 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dolora Zajic,  Nuccia Focile,  Leo Nucci  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Leone Magiera
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $22.49
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  • 12.
    Alieva & Antonenko - Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3477 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Aleksandrs Antonenko,  Dinara Alieva
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    CD: $17.99
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  • 13.
    Bravo! Villazon - The Recitals [4-CD Set]
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 623618 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Florian Laconi,  Theresa Blank
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Marcello Viotti,  Placido Domingo,  Evelino Pidò
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Madrid Community Orchestra,  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $26.99
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  • 14.
    The Early Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 975792 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Georgetta Psaros,  John McCaw,  Franklyn Whiteley  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Nello Santi,  Sherrill Milnes,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 15.
    The Verdi Tenor / Carlo Bergonzi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002089202 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Giulietta Simionato,  Cornell MacNeil,  Carlo Bergonzi,  Piero de Palma  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Georg Solti,  John Pritchard,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Friends of Music Society,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 16.
    Operatic Recital
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002067102 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Eugene Conley
    Conductor:  Royalton Kisch,  Alberto Erede,  Warwick Braithwaite,  Robert Farnon
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Most Wanted Recitals - An Operatic Recital By Flaviano Labo
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002066602 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Flaviano Labò,  Gianni Raimondi,  Bruno Prevedi
    Conductor:  Fernando Previtali,  Bruno Martinotti,  Edward Downes
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    Voice For The Ages / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002038509 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Leone Magiera,  Luciano Pavarotti,  José Carreras,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    DVD: $32.99
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  • 19.
    The 50 Greatest Tracks / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001922802 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Malcolm King,  Robert Lloyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 20.
    Fernando De Lucia - Complete Gramophone Company Recordings 1902-1909
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 54004 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Fernando de Lucia,  Salvatore Cattone,  Antonio Pini-Corsi,  Josefina Huguet  ... 
    Conductor:  Salvatore Sassano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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    CD: $55.49
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  • 21.
    Richard Tucker - The Opera Recital Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543283 Release Date: 08/06/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tucker,  Dorothy Kirsten,  Eileen Farrell,  Daniza Ilitsch
    Conductor:  Fausto Cleva,  Nello Santi,  Franz Allers,  Wilfrid Pelletier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Fausto Cleva,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 22.
    Amore E Tormento / Massimo Giordano
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 538007812 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Massimo Giordano
    Conductor:  Carlo Goldstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
    CD: $19.99
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  • 23.
    The Complete Arthur Endreze
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 55001 Release Date: 05/01/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Arthur Endrèze,  Gaston Micheletti,  René Verdière,  Paul-Henri Vergnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Gustav Cloëz,  François Ruhlmann,  Selmar Meyrowitz
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  • 24.
    La Bella Voce Di Tenore - Puccini, Verdi, Etc / Di Stefano
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1202 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto De Curtis,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Traditional,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Maria Callas,  Ebe Ticozzi
    Conductor:  Dino Olivieri,  Alberto Erede,  Tullio Serafin,  Renato Cellini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Light Opera Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 25.
    Verdi, Puccini, Meyerbeer, Giordano, Cilea: Opera Arias / Carlo Bergonzi, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1305 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Alfredo Simonetto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan  ... 
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