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Giacomo Puccini

December 22, 1858 - November 29, 1924
born in Lucca, Italy, composed during the Romantic period
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 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. ~ Robert Cummings, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: E Lucevan Le Stelle (Radio Single)

x

Track List: Essential Puccini

Disc 1
Title: Turandot, Opera
Title: Tosca, Opera
Title: Manon Lescaut, Opera
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera
Title: La Fanciulla Del West (The Girl Of The Golden West), Opera
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera
Title: Gianni Schicchi, Opera
Title: Suor Angelica, Opera
Title: Manon Lescaut, Opera
Title: Turandot, Opera
Title: La Bohème, Opera
Title: Tosca, Opera
Title: La Rondine (The Swallow), Opera
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera
Title: Tosca, Opera
Title: Gianni Schicchi, Opera
Title: Tosca, Opera
Title: La Bohème, Opera
Disc 2
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera
Title: La Fanciulla Del West (The Girl Of The Golden West), Opera
Title: La Bohème, Opera
Title: Manon Lescaut, Opera
Title: Turandot, Opera
Title: La Fanciulla Del West (The Girl Of The Golden West), Opera
Title: Manon Lescaut, Opera
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera
Title: Turandot, Opera
Title: La Bohème, Opera
x

Track List: Puccini - La Rondine / Gheorghiu · Alagna · Matteuzzi · Mula · Rinaldi · Ciofi · Bacelli · LSO · Pappano

Disc 1
Title: La Rondine (The Swallow), Opera
Disc 2
x

Track List: Puccini - Messa di Gloria / Alagna, Hampson, Pappano

Title: Preludio Sinfonico, For Orchestra In A Major
Title: Mass For Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Chorus & Orchestra In A Flat Major ("Messa Di Gloria")
x

Track List: Puccini - Tosca / Gheorghiu, Alagna, Raimondi, Antonio Pappano (2001 film)

Disc 1
Title: Tosca, Opera
Disc 2
x

Track List: Puccini - Turandot / Sutherland · Pavarotti · Caballé · Ghiaurov · Krause · Pears · LPO · Mehta

x

Track List: Puccini : La Boheme

Disc 1
Title: La Bohème, Opera
Disc 2
x

Track List: Puccini: Madama Butterfly (complete opera) with Maria Callas, Lucia Danieli, Nicolai Gedda, Herbert von Karajan, Chorus & Orchestra of La Scala, Milan

Disc 1
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera
Disc 2
x

Track List: Puccini: Manon Lescaut

Disc 1
Title: Manon Lescaut, Opera
Disc 2
x

Track List: Puccini: Tosca

Disc 1
Title: Tosca, Opera
Disc 2
x

Track List: Puccini: Tosca

Disc 1
Disc 2
x

Track List: The Puccini Experience

Disc 1
Title: Gianni Schicchi, Opera
Title: La Bohème, Opera
Title: Manon Lescaut, Opera
Title: Tosca, Opera
Disc 2
Title: La Rondine (The Swallow), Opera
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera
Title: Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums), Elegy For String Quartet
Title: Suor Angelica, Opera
Title: Gianni Schicchi, Opera
Title: Il Tabarro (The Cloak), Opera
Title: Le Villi, Opera
Title: Edgar, Opera
Title: Preludio Sinfonico, For Orchestra In A Major
Title: Turandot, Opera
Title: La Fanciulla Del West (The Girl Of The Golden West), Opera

Comments

beautifull memory
Just relaxing ....
I love you're classic
At first i was like Wha? Then i realized, she's singing un bel di in english...si g h , kinda takes away from the power of this song...
trayte.peter s
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works
Where is the bio on Maria callas ?
I also wish Pandora would list names of individual songs along with the singer in the classical/op e r a collections.
Brings tears because its perfect
kiri te kanawa singing
wilson.kingj r 4
This was Che Gelida manina. It appears that Pandora is only identifying the Operas and not the specific songs/arias under Now Playing. I am trying to expand my appreciation of opera and that information would be useful.
rc4bach
This is Roberto Alagna, who I think is the most emotional opera singer I have ever heard. He might not be as technically perfect as Pavarotti, but his singing is much more beautiful and soulful! And Musetta is sung by his then-wife, Angela Gheorgiu.
leongmiller
Who is singing Musetta? It's not Netrebko
lkgrebnel
Though they die yet they live. . .
Sorry, but Luciano Pavaroti was not a composer, A superv singer yes, but not a composer unfortunatel y .
wtgmusic2
Nathan Pacheco's the man!
Beautiful!:- D
brenda.trant h a m
Enjoying this while watching my 3 year old dance around the room :)
Wow
sheshebell
I love this composition. . . So beautiful. I don't understand a word he's saying but it makes me feel like I want to cry when I listen to it.
charlesldavi d s o n 2 0 0 3
the female is Anna Netrebko
0.0 totally amazed
ptraynham
does anyone know who the singer is on this track?
Once in London I listen a beautiful composition of Puccini was opera with voices of angels and came so deeple in that moment. My inspiration wos so high make me say poems for 30 mts. hahah!
hidesertlivi n g
I heartily agree with Nick and Ellece.
This can not be expressed in mere words
Does anybody else want to cry right now?!
So extraordinar i l y beautiful!
tyronepike
Great voice!
Breathtaking <3
xili683
Simply fantastic
jensmarb117
this sucks!!!!!
lorenzo13131
you can't bet puccini
lorenzo cantore
terrinpat
questa e mia vita
Bravo!!
krishikriya
I have no words....
la musica del cuore
Simplemente lo mejor, la madre de todas las músicas
airforcewann a b e 9 9 9 9 9 9
Gianni Schihhi tears me up every bloody time.
When Gigli returned to US in 1957 the recording was just him and the pianist. The best!
such a display to let the beauty of the human voice flower...a compassionat e singers fav
iffatiqbal50
This brings tears to my eyes!
paujoanna
Favorite Italian Composer Ever
Il soprano ha un'enorme gamma, ed è un magnifico cantante.
hj_richmond
I was never an opera aficionado until recently and as such am inexperience d in analysing what is great but I am drawn to Puccini's vocal works. I am stirred by the emotionality and drama of his work. Great stuff!
wonderful
calenita3
Pucchini's work moves to tears. Absolutely love it!!!
the best
Ever since I was introduced to opera, having also sung opera in fully staged productions, I have especially gravitated toward Puccini. I was even fortunate on a trip to Tuscany to stumble upon his home in Lucca.
troymoeller
moving, to me, everytime.
rrockhome
All human dramatic, especially the yearning of emotion is wrapped in this composer's music - Absolutely glorious!!!
I love Puccini's work.
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