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
Renata Tebaldi - The Classic Puccini Recordings
Release Date: 03/11/2003   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 473045   Number of Discs: 12
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Puccini: La Boheme - A Film By Robert Dornhelm / Netrebko, Villazon [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 12/15/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4601   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Tosca / Mehta, Domingo, Malfitano, Raimondi
Release Date: 06/25/2013   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4602   Number of Discs: 1
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Puccini: Madama Butterfly / Karajan, Freni, Pavarotti
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 417577   Number of Discs: 3
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Puccini: La Bohème / Karajan, Freni, Pavarotti, Et Al
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 421049   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: La Bohème: O soave fanciulla

Browse 1-25 of 198 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $16.98
    CD: $10.99
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  • 2.
    Love Duets / Stephen Costello, Ailyn Perez
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633485 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Costello,  Ailyn Pérez
    Conductor:  Patrick Summers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    Voices of Firestone DVD 4-Pack - Bjorling, Sutherland, Merrill, Stevens
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4938 Release Date: 04/07/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Georges Bizet,  Rudolf Friml,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Risë Stevens,  Jussi Björling,  Anne-Lisa Björling,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Howard Barlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voice of Firestone Orchestra
    On sale! $34.99
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  • 4.
    One Chance [original Soundtrack]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301047 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ennio Morricone,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Neal Cooper,  Paul Potts,  Jan Bengtson,  Per Magnusson  ... 
    Conductor:  David Snell,  Gavin Greenaway,  Henrik Janson,  Ulf Janson  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 5.
    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,  Malcolm King,  Robert Lloyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 6.
    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  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 7.
    Puccini: Suor Angelica / De Los Angeles, Barbieri, Serafin
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1306 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Fedora Barbieri,  Mina Doro,  Jussi Björling
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus,  RCA Victor Orchestra
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  • 8.
    The Opera Album
    Label: Acanta/Pilz   Catalog: 233707 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Bonisolli,  Mirella Freni,  Gudrun Schäfer,  Sesto Bruscantini
    Conductor:  Leone Magiera,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Ino Savini
    CD: $24.99
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  • 9.
    Historical Recordings 1902-1914
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7700009 Release Date: 05/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Nellie Melba,  Antonio [Baritone Vocals] Scotti,  Ernestine Schumann-Heink  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter B. Rogers,  Giulio Setti
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  • 10.
    Montserrat Caballe - The Diva [6-CD Set]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548834 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Maya Sunara,  Corinna Vozza,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Anton Guadagno,  Carlo Felice Cillario,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra London,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $44.49
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  • 11.
    Sensatiable
    Label: Bon Operatit!   Catalog: 5638070440 Release Date: 01/17/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Denza,  George Gershwin,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jacob Penick,  Jesse Nolan,  Lauren Mouney Gisclair,  Mary Penick Akin  ... 
    CD: $26.99
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  • 12.
    The Essential Performances
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 6009 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giacomo Puccini,  Eduardo Capua  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    CD: $8.99
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  • 13.
    Dreamticket To La Boheme
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 21002 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Margherita Carosio,  Maria Cebotari  ... 
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  • 14.
    Icon: Maria Callas - La Divina
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 23401 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Morresi,  Ebe Stignani,  Raffaele Arié  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $41.99
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  • 15.
    Mirella Freni: The First Recitals 1959-1961
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93481 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Georges Bizet,  Pietro Mascagni,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Gino Del Ferro,  Viktor Remsey
    Conductor:  Ino Savini,  Argeo Quadri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Concerto: One Night In Central Park / Andrea Bocelli [DVD]
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 001610309 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Ana Maria Martinez,  Bryn Terfel,  Pretty Yende  ... 
    Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
    DVD: $19.99
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  • 17.
    Great Opera
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501054 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Adrianne Pieczonka,  Boje Skovhus,  Renato Girolami,  Janusz Monarcha  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Will Humburg,  Alexander Rahbari,  Rico Saccani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Hungarian Radio Chorus,  Failoni Orchestra Budapest  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 18.
    Opera 2012
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 70954 Release Date: 04/03/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Diana Damrau,  Joyce DiDonato,  Rolando Villazón,  Roberto Alagna  ... 
    Conductor:  Dan Ettinger,  Kazushi Ono,  Marcello Viotti,  Evelino Pidò  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    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
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 20.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 21.
    Concerto: One Night In Central Park / Andrea Bocelli
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 001597702 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Ana Maria Martinez,  Bryn Terfel,  Pretty Yende  ... 
    Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $14.99
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  • 22.
    Concerto: One Night In Central Park / Andrea Bocelli [CD & DVD]
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 001610000 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Ana Maria Martinez,  Bryn Terfel,  Pretty Yende  ... 
    Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
    On sale! $29.98
    CD: $27.99
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Caruso - Duets & Ensembles / Alda, Amato, De Luca, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61638 Release Date: 10/17/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Antonio Carlos Gomes,  Anton y Michelena  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Giuseppe de Luca,  Minnie Egener,  Amelita Galli-Curci  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Gaetano Scognamiglio,  Walter Rogers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 25.
    Anna Netrebko - Live At The Met
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001598702 Release Date: 09/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Anna Netrebko,  Ekaterina Sementchuk,  Dmitri Hvorostovsky,  Juan Diego Flórez  ... 
    Conductor:  Patrick Summers,  Valery Gergiev,  Sylvain Cambreling,  Maurizio Benini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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