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 Bohčme, 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 Bohčme (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 / Chailly, Livermore, James, Machado, Romeu [blu-ray]
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Accentus  
Catalog: 10283   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Turandot / Guleghina, Mehta
Release Date: 05/27/2016   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 750008   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Madama Butterfly / Hayashi, Dvorsky, Maazel
Release Date: 08/25/2009   Label: Arthaus Musik  
Catalog: 100111   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Turandot / Guleghina, Licitra, Iveri, Carella
Release Date: 11/15/2011   Label: Bel Air Classiques  
Catalog: 66   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini Opera Collection [blu-ray]
Release Date: 09/25/2015   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 7176   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Manon Lescaut: Donna non vidi mai

Browse 26-50 of 136 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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
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  • 27.
    Best of Salvatore Licitra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 798960 Release Date: 02/07/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Francesco Cilča  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Licitra,  Mary Plazas,  Marcelo Alvarez
    Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi,  Roberto Rizzi Brignoli,  Daniel May
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan  ... 
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  • 28.
    Nessun Dorma
    Label: Membran / Documents   Catalog: 233346 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Jacques Halévy,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Bonisolli,  Mirella Freni,  Henno Garduhn,  Maria Corelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Leone Magiera,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Bruno Bartoletti
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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    Carlo Bergonzi: Early Recordings
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93480 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Cilča,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Umberto Giordano,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi
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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    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
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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
    CD: $14.99
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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.
    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 Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Rafaele Mingardo,  Bruno Bartoletti,  James Levine  ... 
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  • 40.
    La Scala Edition, Volume 2 - 1916-1946
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64864 Release Date: 03/25/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Arrigo Boito,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Riccardo Stracciari,  Elvira De Hidalgo,  Nazzareno de Angelis,  Dino Borgioli  ... 
    Conductor:  Giorgio Polacco,  Carlo Sabajno,  Angelo Albergoni,  Lorenzo Molajoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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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.
    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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  • 44.
    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  ... 
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  • 45.
    Ultimate Puccini - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280502 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Ashley Putnam,  Mirella Freni,  Robert Lloyd,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Tullio Serafin,  Riccardo Muti,  Alberto Erede  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 46.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 47.
    Carlo Bergonzi
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421328 Release Date: 02/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Cilča,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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  • 48.
    100 Best Puccini
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 236677 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Mario Sereni,  Mirella Freni,  Mario Basiola II  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers,  Georges Prętre,  Gabriele Santini,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
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  • 49.
    Puccini 2008 - Nessun Dorma / Callas, Te Kanawa, Carreras, Domingo, Alagna, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17620 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Roberto Alagna,  Renata Scotto,  Alfredo Kraus,  Mario Sereni  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  James Levine,  Thomas Schippers,  Anton Guadagno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $25.98
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  • 50.
    Nessun Dorma - Puccini's Greatest Arias / Pavarotti, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001109602 Release Date: 06/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Richard Van Allan,  Mirella Freni,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Rescigno,  Zubin Mehta,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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