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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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Opera Explained - Puccini: Turandot
Release Date: 11/16/2004   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8558157   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Tosca: Recondita armonia

Browse 26-50 of 247 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Icon / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001591602 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eduardo Capua,  Luigi Denza,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ernesto De Curtis  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    Conductor:  Giancarlo Chiaramello,  Anton Guadagno,  Herbert von Karajan,  Piero Gamba  ... 
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  • 27.
    Arrivederci / Vittorio Grigolo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 791134 Release Date: 09/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo
    Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Carlo Bergonzi: Early Recordings
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93480 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Umberto Giordano,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi
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  • 29.
    Giuseppe Di Stefano - The Decca Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001589102 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Traditional,  Franco Cesarini,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Eldo Di Lazzaro  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Hilde Gueden,  Renato Capecchi,  Luisa Mandelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Dino Olivieri,  Iller Pattacini,  Franco Patanè,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra of London,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    Jussi Bjorling - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 774892 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Emil Markow,  Frederick Schauwecker  ... 
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Nils Grevillius,  Jonel Perlea,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Opera 2011
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 96666 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Antonio Caldara,  Giacomo Puccini,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Edgaras Montvidas,  Joyce DiDonato,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Anna Netrebko  ... 
    Conductor:  Kazushi Ono,  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Antonio Pappano,  Eugene Kohn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale,  L'arpeggiata
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  • 32.
    Italian Album / Timothy Richards, Wilhelm Keitel, Minsk Orchestra
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9091664 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Timothy Richards
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Keitel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minsk Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Kurt Baum
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89741 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Jacques Halévy,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Kurt Baum
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Loibner
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 34.
    The Very Best Of Placido Domingo
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48676 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Montserrat Caballé,  Renato Capecchi,  Peter Horton
    Conductor:  Eugene Kohn,  Asher Fisch,  John Barker,  Georges Prêtre  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 35.
    Viva Domingo!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48757 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Keith Erwen,  David Cangelosi,  Renata Scotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  John Barker,  Eugene Kohn,  Asher Fisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 36.
    The Ultimate Puccini Opera Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578066-67 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Luba Orgonasova,  Jonathan Welch,  Thomas Harper,  Miriam Gauci  ... 
    Conductor:  Will Humburg,  Alexander Rahbari,  Michael Halász,  Ondrej Lenárd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Choir,  Belgian Radio And Television Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $13.99
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  • 37.
    Puccini: Tosca Highlights / Freni, Domingo, Ramey, Terfel, Sinopoli
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437547 Release Date: 12/06/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Angelo Veccia,  Bryn Terfel,  Placido Domingo,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 38.
    Aroldo Lindi - Recordings 1925-1928
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10146 Release Date: 12/03/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Aroldo Lindi,  Giannina Arangi-Lombardi,  Armando Borgioli,  Tancredi Pasero
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  • 39.
    Sophie Braslau & Richard Crooks - Recordings 1914-1929
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10038 Release Date: 11/22/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Gabriele Sibella,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Crooks,  Sophie Braslau,  Frances Alda
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 40.
    111 More Classic Tracks [6-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001483202 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Maurice André,  Stefan Askenase,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Karel Ancerl,  Hans Stadlmair,  John Nelson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 41.
    A Passion For Pavarotti: The Arias
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 6004 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Jules Massenet,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    CD: $14.99
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  • 42.
    Brita Hertzberg & Ejnar Beyron - Recordings 1928-1945
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10031 Release Date: 10/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Nils Söderström,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Einar Beyron,  Brita Hertzberg,  Helga Görlin,  Leon Björker
    Conductor:  Ernst Hauke,  Nils Grevillius
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  • 43.
    Bravo Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001480402 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Tom Krause,  Montserrat Caballé,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Richard Bonynge,  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
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  • 44.
    Bravo Pavarotti [DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001480509 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Martti Talvela,  Sherrill Milnes,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Nicola Rescigno,  John Pritchard,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 45.
    The Pearl Fishers' Duet: The Very Best Of Jussi Bjorling
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1100 Release Date: 10/05/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Harry Ebert
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Nils Grevillius,  Sir Thomas Beecham
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  • 46.
    Heritage: Beloved Songs Of Italy
    Label: Philip Alongi (Label)   Catalog: 5637678524 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Francesco Cilèa,  Eduardo Capua  ... 
    Performer:  Philip Alongi
    CD: $14.99
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  • 47.
    Il Mito Dell'opera / Nicola Martinucci
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1216 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Nicola Martinucci
    CD: $17.99
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  • 48.
    Essential Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27920 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Ernest Blanc,  Nicolai Gedda,  Thomas Hampson  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Thomas Schippers,  Pierre Dervaux,  Gianluigi Gelmetti  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 49.
    Original Three Tenors - 20th Anniversary Special Edition [CD & DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001439900 Release Date: 08/10/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  José Carreras,  Placido Domingo
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Great Singers And Musicians In Copenhagen, 1931-1939
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 691/96 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Bedrich Smetana,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anny Konetzni,  Lauritz Melchior,  Zedenka Zikova,  Viorica Tango  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Weisbach,  Nicolai Malko,  Bruno Walter,  Egisto Tango  ... 
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