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Famous Like Me > Composer > P > Giacomo Puccini

Profile of Giacomo Puccini on Famous Like Me

Name: Giacomo Puccini  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 22nd December 1858
Place of Birth: Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Giacomo Puccini

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (December 22, 1858 – November 29, 1924) is regarded as one of the great operatic composers of the late 19th and early 20th century.


Puccini was born in Lucca, Italy into a family with a long history of music. After the death of his father when he was only five years old, he was sent to study with his uncle Fortunato Magi, who considered him to be a poor and undisciplined student. Later, he took the position of church organist, but it was not until he saw a performance of Verdi's Aida that he became inspired to be an opera composer.

In 1880, the Messa di Gloria (Glory Mass), composed at the age of 21, marked the end of Puccini's apprenticeship as a composer and the culmination of his family's long association with church music in his native Lucca. The work offers fascinating glimpses of the dramatic power that Puccini was soon to unleash on Milan's stages. The orchestration and the overall feeling of drama conveyed by his music establish a dialogue with Verdi's Requiem and perhaps already constitute a prediction of the future operatic career Puccini would embrace for life.

From 1880 to 1883 he studied at the Milan Conservatory under Amilcare Ponchielli and Antonio Bazzini. In 1882, Puccini entered a competition for a one-act opera. Although he did not win, Le villi was later staged in 1884 at the Teatro dal Verme; it also caught the attention of Giulio Ricordi, head of G. Ricordi & Co. music publishers, who commissioned a second opera (Edgar) 1889. From 1891 on,Puccini passed more and more of his time at Villa at Torre del Lago, in the Tuscan countryside. In this place on the border of the Massaciuccoli lake, where he passed lots of time hunting, he found refuge from the crowded city. Later he build a villa and moved there definitively in 1900. It was to remain his home and workplace until the very last years of his life when he moved to the opposite side of the lake.

Manon Lescaut 1893, his third opera, was a great success and it also began his relationship with the librettests Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, who worked with him on his next three operas. The first of these, La bohème 1896 (based on a story by Henri Murger), is considered one of his best works, as well as one of the most romantic operas ever composed. His next opera, Tosca,1900 was Puccini's first foray into verismo. Madama Butterfly 1904 (based on a play by David Belasco) was greeted with great hostility at its opening (mostly orchestrated by his rivals), but after some reworking it has become another of his most successful operas.

Composition was slow after this. In 1903 he was injured in an automobile accident. In 1906, Giacosa died. In 1909, there was scandal after Puccini's wife, Elvira, falsely accused their maid of having an affair with Puccini. The maid then committed suicide. And in 1912, Puccini's editor, Ricordi, died.

Nonetheless, in 1910, Puccini completed La fanciulla del West, which he later on thought of as his most powerful opera, and, in 1917, finished the score of La rondine, a piece he reworked from an operetta he had attempted to compose only to find that his style and talent were incompatible with the genre.

In 1918, Il Trittico premiered. This work is composed of three one-act operas in the style of the Parisian Grand Guignol: a horrific episode (Il Tabarro), a sentimental tragedy (Suor Angelica) and a comedy or farce (Gianni Schicchi). Of the three, Gianni Schicchi is the most popular and Il Tabarro the least. Gianni Schicchi, which takes palce in Florence, is sometimes performed as a double-bill with a one act opera such as Cavalleria Rusticana or I Pagliacci.

Puccini died in Brussels, Belgium in 1924 from complications due to treatment for throat cancer. He is buried in Milan, but in 1926 his son ordered the transfer of the corpse to a small chapel in Torre del Lago. Turandot, his last opera was left unfinished; the last two scenes were completed by Franco Alfano. In 2001 a new completion of the final scenes was made by Luciano Berio.


Though Puccini is mainly known for his operas, he also wrote some short orchestral pieces and chamber music pieces.

Puccini's operas:

  • Le villi, 1884.
  • Edgar, 1889.
  • Manon Lescaut, 1893.
  • La bohème, 1896.
  • Tosca, 1900.
  • Madama Butterfly, 1904.
  • La fanciulla del West, 1910.
  • La rondine, 1917.
  • Il Trittico, 1918.
  • Turandot, 1926.

  • Messa di Gloria (Gloria Mass, Luca, 1880)
  • Le villi (1884-05-31 Teatro dal Verme, Milan)
  • Le villi [rev] (1884-12-26 Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • Edgar (1889-04-21 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Edgar [rev] (1892-02-28 Teatro Communale, Ferrara)
  • Manon Lescaut (1893-02-01 Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • La bohème (1896-02-01 Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • Tosca (1900-01-14 Teatro Costanzi, Rome)
  • Madama Butterfly (1904-02-17 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Madama Butterfly [rev] (1904-05-28 Teatro Grande, Brescia)
  • Edgar [rev 2] (1905-07-08 Teatro Colón?, Buenos Aires)
  • Madama Butterfly [rev 2] (1905-07-10 Covent Garden, London)
  • Madama Butterfly [rev 3] (1905-12-28 Opéra Comique, Paris)
  • La fanciulla del West (1910-12-10 Metropolitan Opera, New York)
  • La rondine (1917-03-27 Opéra, Monte Carlo)
  • Il trittico (1918-12-14 Metropolitan Opera, New York):
    • Il tabarro
    • Suor Angelica
    • Gianni Schicchi
  • Turandot (1926-04-25 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)


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This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Giacomo Puccini