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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
Opera Explained - An Introduction To Puccini: La Bohème
Release Date: 07/16/2002   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8558011   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Weber, Zurabishvili
Release Date: 10/28/2008   Label: Arthaus Musik  
Catalog: 101319   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Turandot / Mehta, Sutherland, Pavarotti, Caballe [2 Cds & 1 Blu-ray Audio]
Release Date: 12/09/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002220946   Number of Discs: 3
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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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Classics Explained - An Introduction To Puccini: Tosca
Release Date: 07/16/2002   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8558047   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Tosca: Recondita armonia

Browse 226-247 of 247 Available Recordings
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  • 226.
    Mario Del Monaco
    Label: London/Decca Grandi Voci   Catalog: 440407 Release Date: 08/02/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Agustín Lara,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Eduardo Di Capua  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Piero de Palma,  Fernando Corena,  Athos Cesarini  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Ernesto Nicelli,  Franco Capuana,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  New Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 227.
    Mad About Puccini
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439151 Release Date: 07/13/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Mirella Freni,  Katia Ricciarelli,  Juan Pons  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Herbert von Karajan,  Leonard Bernstein,  Roberto Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 228.
    The Best Of Puccini
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8551120 Release Date: 06/28/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Miriam Gauci,  Thomas Harper,  Jonathan Welch,  Luba Orgonasova  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Rahbari,  Michael Halász,  Will Humburg,  Ondrej Lenárd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Belgian Radio & TV Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava,  Slovak State Philharmonic Chorus
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  • 229.
    Prima Voce - Antonio Cortis
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7850 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Cortis,  Simeon José Serrano,  Joaquin Gaztambide,  Amadeo Vives  ... 
    Performer:  Antonio Cortis
    Conductor:  Carlo Sabajno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 230.
    Prima Voce - Beniamino Gigli Vol 1 1918-1924
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7807 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Luigi Denza,  Arturo Buzzi-Peccia,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Beniamino Gigli
    Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon,  Josef Pasternack,  Carlo Sabajno
    CD: $11.99
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  • 231.
    Prima Voce - Bjorling
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7835 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling
    Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 232.
    Prima Voce - Martinelli Vol 2 1913-1923
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7826 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Blanc,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe de Luca,  José Mardones,  Giovanni Martinelli,  Marcel Journet
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  • 233.
    Prima Voce - Tauber In Opera
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7830 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Jacques Offenbach,  Albert Lortzing,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tauber,  Lotte Lehmann,  Emmy Bettendorf
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Ernst Hauke,  Hermann Weigert,  Carl Besl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Playhouse Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 234.
    Amore - Romantic Italian Love Songs / Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436719 Release Date: 09/15/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Italo Tajo
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané,  Gian Carlo Chiaramello,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Leone Magiera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra London,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 235.
    Luciano Pavarotti In Hyde Park
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436320 Release Date: 04/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Cesare Andrea Bixio  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    Conductor:  Leone Magiera
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
    CD: $12.99
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  • 236.
    Puccini Without Words / Kostelanetz & His Orchestra
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 46285 Release Date: 07/01/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 237.
    Gala Concert at Royal Albert Hall / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430716 Release Date: 06/14/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    Conductor:  Kurt Herbert Adler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 238.
    Pops Plays Puccini / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80260 Release Date: 03/14/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  May Festival Chorus
    CD: $16.99
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  • 239.
    Opera Stoppers
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 46577 Release Date: 01/18/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Leo Nucci,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Ruggero Raimondi  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Emerson Buckley,  Lorin Maazel,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Emilia Romagna Arturo Toscanini Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 240.
    Jussi Björling - Opera Arias / Leinsdorf, Rome Opera
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 5934 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Renata Tebaldi,  Giorgio Tozzi,  Fernando Corena
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Jonel Perlea,  Nils Grevillius,  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 241.
    Legendary Enrico Caruso- 21 Favorite Arias
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 5911 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack
    CD: $8.99
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  • 242.
    References - Jussi Bjorling - Opera Arias
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 61053 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Hjördis Schymberg
    Conductor:  Nils Grevillius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Stockholm Concerts Associations Orchestra,  Royal Stockholm Opera Orchestra
    CD not available
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  • 243.
    The Three Tenors / Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti, Mehta
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 430433 Release Date: 09/05/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eduardo Di Capua,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano,  Pablo Sorozabal  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  José Carreras,  Luciano Pavarotti
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
    CD: $16.99
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  • 244.
    Trumpet Spectacular / Doc Severinsen, Erich Kunzel
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80223 Release Date: 03/15/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Doc Severinsen
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
    CD: $16.99
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  • 245.
    Opera Without Words - Arias For Orchestra
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 44999 Release Date: 11/20/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $8.99
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  • 246.
    The Caruso Edition, Volume Ii 1908-1912
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 2 Release Date: 01/21/1993   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Arturo Buzzi-Peccia,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Emanuele Nutile  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Louise Homer,  Johanna Gadski,  Frances Alda  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter B. Rogers
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