Giacomo Puccini

He was born in Lucca in 1858 and died in Brussels in 1924. He entered Milan Conservatory in 1880 studying composition with Bazzini and Ponchielli. He showed bias towards symphonic works, but Ponchielli sensed his pupil's operatic ptentiality and persuaded his pupil to enter Sonzogno 1 act opera competition with "Le Villi".  Although it was rejected by the jury, the work was admired by Boito and it was produced in Milan in 1884.  It was heard by Verdi's publisher, Ricordi, who commissioned an opera from Puccini.  This was to be "Edgar" which was a failure when produced in 1889.  However, Ricordi's faith was justified in 1893 by "Manon Lescaut", in which the mature Puccini is already evident in the ardent and profuse melodic mastery which distinguishes the work.  Puccini's next opera "La Boheme" was at first less successful than "Manon", but it soon became what it now remains, probably the most popular and generally beloved opera ever written, a masterpiece of characterisation, sentiment and craftsmanship.  His last opera remained unfinished when he died of cancer, but it was skillfully and seamlessly completed by Alfano. "Turandot" has maintained its place because of its superb music and because the part of the cruel princess Turandot is a glorious gift to dramatic sopranos

Puccini lacks the nobility of Verdi, but few opera composers can rival him in dramatic flair and skill. He is a sentimental, but it is a sentimentality to which millions are glad to respond.  His sense of characterisation  was highly developed and his genius for orchestration enabled him, with a few notes, to hold the audience in the palm of his hand.  Most of his operas contain a heroine in whom there are elements of the "little girl", and there is a streak of sadistic cruelty which also marred the personaility of the man himself.


Le Villi (1884)
Edgar (1889)
Manon Lescaut (1893)
La Boheme (1896)
Tosca (1900)
Madame Butterfly (1904)
La Fanciulla del West (1910)
La Rondine (1917)
Il Tabarro (1918)
Suor Angelica (1918)
Gianni Schicchi (1918)
Turandot (1926)

Choral works :

Missa di Gloria in A, for soprano, tenor, baritone choir and orchestra (1880)

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