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: La boheme / Dessi, Galli, Puccini Festival Orchestra
Release Date: 05/27/2016   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 736108   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: 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: Il Trittico / Gallo, Westbroek, Pappano
Release Date: 07/31/2012   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 1070   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: La Bohème: O soave fanciulla

Browse 1-25 of 159 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    L'enchanteur / Alagna
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555264 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Roberto Alagna
    CD: $13.99
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  • 2.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $46.98
    CD: $44.49
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  • 3.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Encores! - Great Performances at the Met
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002250109 Release Date: 02/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Alessandro Corbelli,  Juan Diego Flórez,  Joyce DiDonato  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Marco Armiliato,  Maurizio Benini,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $22.49
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  • 8.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002232209 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    DVD: $11.99
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  • 9.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002200802 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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:  Ailyn Pérez,  Stephen Costello
    Conductor:  Patrick Summers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $16.99
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Montserrat Caballe - The Diva
    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: $19.99
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  • 18.
    Love Songs / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 6016 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    CD: $8.99
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  • 19.
    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:  Frankie J. Kelly,  Joseph Meyer,  Mary Penick Akin,  Lauren Mouney Gisclair  ... 
    CD: $26.99
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  • 20.
    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 Di Capua  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    CD: $8.99
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  • 21.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 22.
    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 Cilča,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Morresi,  Ebe Stignani,  Raffaele Arié  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prętre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $42.99
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Opera 2012
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001675802 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Umberto Giordano,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Anna Netrebko,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Fabio Luisi,  Antonio Pappano,  Giovanni Antonini  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 25.
    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,  Bo 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  ... 
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