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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
Puccini: Manon Lescaut / Weber, Zurabishvili
Release Date: 10/28/2008   Label: Arthaus Musik  
Catalog: 101319   Number of Discs: 1
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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: 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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Puccini: Madame Butterfly - Original Soundtrack / Conlon, Huang, Troxell
Release Date: 04/23/1996   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 69258   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Manon Lescaut: Donna non vidi mai

Browse 26-50 of 173 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    Zoran Todorovich - Arias
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 793 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Zoran Todorovich,  Valentina Fijacko
    Conductor:  Ivan Repusic
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    100 Best Placido Domingo
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 47472 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Arrigo Boito,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Placido Domingo,  Montserrat Caballé,  Reri Grist  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  John Barker,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 32.
    50 Best Placido Domingo
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48750 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Arrigo Boito,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Placido Domingo,  Montserrat Caballé,  Reri Grist  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  John Barker,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 33.
    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
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  • 34.
    Joseph Hislop - Recordings 1923-1929
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10109 Release Date: 12/03/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Ambroise Thomas,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Hislop,  Lotte Schöne,  Feodor Chaliapin
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  • 35.
    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
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  • 36.
    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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  • 37.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Gianni Poggi, Vol. 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89736 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano,  Rodolfo Falvo  ... 
    Performer:  Gianni Poggi,  Ebe Ticozzi,  Simona dall' Argine,  Gino del Signore  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Ernesto Nicello,  Franco Capuana
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  • 38.
    Vittorio Grigolo - The Italian Tenor
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 775257 Release Date: 10/05/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo
    Conductor:  Pier Giorgio Morandi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parma Teatro Regio Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus
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  • 39.
    Heroes & Villains - Opera's Leading Men
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001433902 Release Date: 06/01/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi,  Rolando Villazón,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Daniele Callegari,  Robin Stapleton,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 40.
    The Hit Men: The Greatest Voices Of Our Time
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28546 Release Date: 04/20/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Franco Corelli,  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Rafaele Mingardo,  Bruno Bartoletti,  James Levine  ... 
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  • 41.
    Icon - Nicolai Gedda - Lyric Poet Of The Tenor Voice
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 56095 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Joaquin Turina,  Ottorino Respighi,  Francesco Maria Veracini,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Gerald Moore,  Jan Eyron,  Aldo Ciccolini  ... 
    Conductor:  Lonya Kolbouss,  Robert Stolz,  Willy Mattes,  Willi Boskovsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Men's Chorus,  Balalaika Orchestra,  Graunke Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 42.
    Puccini: Manon Lescaut Highlights / Sinopoli, Freni, Bruson, Domingo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469589 Release Date: 10/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Placido Domingo,  Renato Bruson,  Robert Gambill  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 43.
    Best Tenor Voices 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 06701 Release Date: 10/06/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Corinna Vozza,  Adriana Lazzarini,  Rolando Villazón  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini,  Marcello Viotti,  Umberto Berrettoni,  Alain Lombard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 44.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Giuseppe Campora, Vol. 2
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89718 Release Date: 07/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giuseppe Campora,  Giovanni Inghilleri,  Rosetta Noli,  Giulia Olini  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini,  Alberto Erede,  Umberto Berrettoni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Orchestra De La Suisse Romande
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  • 45.
    Icon - Franco Corelli - The Tenor As Hero
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 64887 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Birgit Nilsson,  Bonaldo Giaiotti,  Grace Bumbry  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers,  Franco Ferraris,  Tullio Serafin,  Rafaele Mingardo  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus  ... 
    CD: $27.49
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  • 46.
    Ultimate Puccini - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280502 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Enzo Sordello,  Renata Tebaldi,  Angelo Mercuriali  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Sir Colin Davis,  Riccardo Muti,  Alberto Erede  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 47.
    The Record of Singing - The Very Best of Vols 1-4
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28956 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Arthur Sullivan,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Marian Anderson,  Kosti Vehanen,  Dame Clara Butt,  Richard Crooks  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Schmalstich,  Clarence Raybould,  Georges Lauweryns,  Nat Finston  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Pasdeloup Concert Association Orchestra  ... 
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  • 48.
    The Record of Singing Vol 5 - From the LP to the Digital Era
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28949 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Jacques Offenbach,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk,  Luciana Serra,  Neil Shicoff,  Alain Vanzo  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sylvain Cambreling,  Georges Prêtre,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 49.
    100 Best Tenor Arias
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 242720 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Peter Haage  ... 
    Conductor:  Jacques Delacôte,  Berislav Klobucar,  Bernard Haitink,  Heinz Wallberg  ... 
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  • 50.
    Carlo Bergonzi
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421328 Release Date: 02/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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