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
Maria Meneghini Callas Sings Operatic Arias By Puccini
Release Date: 09/23/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 634017   Number of Discs: 1
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Tutto Puccini - Complete Giacomo Puccini Opera Edition
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Arthaus Musik  
Catalog: 107541   Number of Discs: 11
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Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Serafin, Callas, Di Stefano, Cossotto
Release Date: 09/23/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 634098   Number of Discs: 2
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Prima Voce - Puccini: La Boheme / Berretoni, Gigli, Albanese
Release Date: 12/06/1994   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 7862   Number of Discs: 2
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Prima Voce - Giacomo Lauri-volpi
Release Date: 04/16/1995   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 7845   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Tosca: Recondita armonia

Browse 1-25 of 260 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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
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  • 2.
    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  ... 
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  • 3.
    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  ... 
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  • 4.
    Voice For The Ages / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002038509 Release Date: 04/15/2014  
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Leone Magiera,  Luciano Pavarotti,  José Carreras,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
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  • 5.
    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  ... 
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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  ... 
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  • 8.
    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
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  • 9.
    Franco Corelli: A Discographic Career
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 214 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Maria Curtis-Verna,  Piero de Palma,  Maria Callas  ... 
    Conductor:  Umberto Cattini,  Alfredo Simonetto,  Arturo Basile,  Angelo Questa  ... 
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  • 10.
    Historical Recordings 1902-1914
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7700009 Release Date: 05/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Nellie Melba,  Antonio [Baritone Vocals] Scotti,  Ernestine Schumann-Heink  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter B. Rogers,  Giulio Setti
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  • 11.
    Enrico Caruso: Historical Recordings 1902-1914
    Label: Bel Age   Catalog: 7703692 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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  ... 
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Puccini: The Great Operas [13-CD Set]
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9011 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  John Reardon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Victor De Sabata,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Giuseppe Morelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Columbus Boychoir,  RCA Victor Chorus  ... 
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  • 16.
    Classical Album 2013
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1206561 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  André Rieu,  Paul Mealor,  Francesco Sartori,  Ennio Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  André Rieu,  Katherine Jenkins,  Russell Watson,  Milos Karadaglic  ... 
    Conductor:  Gareth Malone,  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Escala
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  • 17.
    Forever Domingo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001784502 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Agustín Lara,  Nicholas Brodszky,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcel Peeters,  Karl-Heinz Loges,  Herbert von Karajan,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 18.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1007092 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli
    On sale! $37.99
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  • 19.
    Voices Of Italian Opera
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40509 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Edita Gruberova,  Margherita Carosio,  Francesco Meli  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Evelino Pidò  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Noah / Noah Stewart
    Label: Verve   Catalog: 001701202 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Leonard Cohen,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Noah Stewart
    CD: $14.99
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  • 21.
    Great Opera
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501054 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Adrianne Pieczonka,  Boje Skovhus,  Renato Girolami,  Janusz Monarcha  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Will Humburg,  Alexander Rahbari,  Rico Saccani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Hungarian Radio Chorus,  Failoni Orchestra Budapest  ... 
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  • 22.
    The Very Best Of Jussi Bjorling
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6789972 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Paul Franke  ... 
    Conductor:  Nils Grevillius,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Renato Cellini
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Pavarotti Collection Vol 2
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9913 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 24.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   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: $175.49
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  • 25.
    Joseph Calleja - The Maltese Tenor
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001574702 Release Date: 10/24/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach,  Arrigo Boito  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Calleja,  Aleksandra Kurzak
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Geneva Grand Theatre Chorus
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