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
Puccini: La Boheme - A Film by Robert Dornhelm / Netrebko, Villazon
Release Date: 12/15/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4601   Number of Discs: 1
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Jonas Kaufmann – An Evening with Puccini
Release Date: 04/01/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 513024   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Sinopoli, Te Kanawa, Domingo, Allen
Release Date: 11/18/2003   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2041   Number of Discs: 1
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Jonas Kaufmann – An Evening with Puccini [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 04/01/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 513025   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: La Boheme - A Film By Robert Dornhelm / Netrebko, Villazon
Release Date: 12/15/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4601   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Manon Lescaut: Donna non vidi mai

Browse 1-25 of 127 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Great Placido Domingo
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556098 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Katia Ricciarelli,  Ezio di Cesare,  John [Bass Vocals] Macurdy  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Kohn,  Nello Santi,  Riccardo Muti,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rondalla Lirica de Madrid
    CD: $16.99
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  • 2.
    Opera Gold: 100 Great Tracks
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002503602 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Henry Lewis,  Richard Bonynge,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    Anna Moffo: The Complete RCA Recital Albums
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 503223 Release Date: 01/15/2016   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Moffo,  Robert Kerns,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Alberta Alberti  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Leopold Stokowski,  René Leibowitz,  Fernando Previtali  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  American Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    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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  • 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.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Berlioz: I Troiani
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 347 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    My Life is an Opera / Roberto Alagna
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002267302 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Charles Gounod,  Anton y Michelena  ... 
    Performer:  Roberto Alagna,  Aleksandra Kurzak
    Conductor:  Yvan Cassar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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  • 11.
    Opera - The Ultimate Collection / Andrea Bocelli
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002181302 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Barbara Frittoli,  Matteo Peirone,  Verónica Villarroel  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda,  Placido Domingo,  Zubin Mehta,  Marco Armiliato  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Valencia Community Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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  • 12.
    Operatic Recitals By Giuseppe Campora & Gianni Poggi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002177602 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano,  Arrigo Boito  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Campora,  Gianni Poggi,  Gino Penno,  Giacinto Prandelli
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Antonio Narducci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Chorus
    CD: $12.99
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Puccini: La Boheme [highlights] / Serafin, Tebaldi, Bergonzi, D'angelo
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002009202 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Carlo [Tenor Vocals] Bergonzi,  Renata Tebaldi,  Renato Cesari,  Cesare Siepi  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Alberto Erede,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Lamberto Gardelli
    CD: $6.99
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  • 16.
    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,  Renato Bruson,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    Luciano Pavarotti - A Legend Says Goodbye
    Label: Timba (Dvd)   Catalog: 22 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    DVD: $9.99
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  • 20.
    Amore e Tormento / 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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  • 21.
    Jussi Björling - Classic Arias & Duets Of Bizet, Puccini, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1080 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Merrill,  Jussi Björling,  Emil Markow,  Harry Ebert
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Nils Grevillius
    CD: $11.99
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  • 22.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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