Who is Giacomo Puccini?
Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini was an Italian composer who is known as the exponent of operatic realism. Belonging to a musical family who were the music directors of San Martino Cathedral in Lucca since centuries, music was a family profession to him, rather than a personal vocation. The fact that his operas are loved and performed even years after his death is testimony to his amazing talent. He remains the best in this realm that there are hardly few composers who can stand in par with Puccini. The manner in which he matches a theme to a dramatic situation and touches the hearts of the listeners is nothing short of stunning! He applied the same skill and sensitivity for orchestras too, making each note, chord and instrument, to create dramatic effect. This combined effect of song and music made his works purely magical. Read through this biography to learn more about his life.
Giacomo Puccini Biography detail
Giacomo Puccini was born on 22 December 1858 as the fifth child of Michele and Albina Puccini in Lucca in Tuscany in Italy. Since the family arrived there in 1730’s, they had been composing and playing the organ for San Martino Cathedral in Lucca. When Giacomo was five years old, in 1864, he lost his father. However, contrary to everyone’s expectations and despite the rich music history of the family, Giacomo hardly showed any interest in music. He was lazy, unfocused and was a truant at school. Despite this, his mother who was confident of his abilities procured him admission at the Conservatorio Musici. The municipality of Lucca provided moral and financial support to Giacomo with a small amount of pension and kept the post of cathedral organist till Giacomo reached the required age to engage that position.
Making a modest progress, he became a choir boy at San Martino and started playing the organ from there from the age of 14. By the time he reached his 17th age, he had started writing small compositions. At this age, he attended a performance of Giuseppe ‘Verdi's Aïda’ in Milan, which gave wings to his ambitions and made him confident of considering the career of an opera composer. The next four years saw him working very hard and he wrote a Mass as well during this time. Puccini spent at the next three years at Milan Conservatoire, where Antonio Bazzini and Amilcare Ponchielli taught him. During this time, he suffered many hardships due to the severe lack of money. As a passing out piece, he submitted the orchestra, ‘Capriccio Sinfonico’, which was a beautiful work.
After leaving the conservatoire, Puccini wanted to make a good start in Operas. An excellent opportunity came in the form of Ponchielli when he drew his attention to a one-act opera prize, which was announced by the publisher, Sonzogono. He also arranged for a librettist namely, Ferdinando Fontana. The work which he wrote, ‘Le Villi’, was completed in haste to meet the deadline, and this made the work unreadable and consequently, ignored by the judges. In May 1884, a production was arranged in Milan, which proved to be a huge success. The critics had all praise for the work and famous critic Corriere della Sera commented, ‘We sincerely believe that Puccini may be the composer for whom Italy has been waiting a long time’.Puccini’s lost his mother during this time. The same year, he fled from Lucca with a married woman, Elvira Gemignani.
Puccini’s work Abbe Prevost's novella ‘Manon Lescaut’ was a huge success and was successfully staged in St. Petersburg, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Munich. This enabled Puccini to repay all his debts and in 1891, he started living in Torre Del Lago, a few kilometres away from Lucca. He constructed a new villa namely ‘Villa Museo Puccini’ in 1900 and lived there till 1921. Years later, pollution produced by peat works forced him to move to Viareggio.
Works Written At Torre Del Lago
The success of ‘Manon Lescaut’ marked the beginning of a strong relationship between Puccini and librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. Both these librettists worked with him in his next three operas known as ‘La bohème’ (1896), ‘Tosca’ (1900) and ‘Madama Butterfly’. The latter became one of his most successful operas. After these operas, the public had to wait almost seven years for his next opera till ‘La Fanciulla del West’ (Girl of the Golden West) in 1907. In 1909 Puccini’s wife Elvira allegedly accused their maid Doria Manfredi for having an affair with Puccini. Hurt by the abuse, the maid committed suicide. Elvira was sentenced for five-month imprisonment, and was released only after Giacomo paid compensation for the death. However, this resulted in a huge crack in their relationship. After this, Puccini started embarking on many ardent affairs.
The First World War caused a great hindrance to Puccini’s creative life as it made the negotiations impossible to write an Operetta for Vienna, who belonged to the enemy territory. This resulted in a light opera, ‘La Rondine’, produced at Monte Carlo. This opera was termed as the ‘the afternoon of a genius’ because the youthful eminence and romantic impulsiveness, for which Puccini was well known, was lost by this time though he continued his work widening the horizons beyond boundaries. He also finished ‘II Trittico’ which was premiered in 1918. It consisted of three one-act operas which include a horrific episode (Il Tabarro), a sentimental tragedy (Suor Angelica) and a comedy (Gianni Schicchi). Among these three, Gianni Schicchi was the most popular. His work, ‘La Rondine’ was premiered at Monte Carlo; it never secured a place in world’s stages though it included some stunning melodic moments.
Later Phases And Death
Puccini was diagnosed for throat cancer and was recommended to take therapy treatment in Brussels. He and his wife never knew how serious the cancer is, as the actual condition was revealed only to his son. He developed some post-surgical complications such as uncontrolled bleeding, which led to heart failure a day after the surgery. Puccini died on 29th November 1924 in Brussels and was cremated in Milan, in his family tomb. A prominent history of Italian opera ended with his death. In 1926, Puccini’s son transferred the remains to a chapel which he created inside the Puccini Villa at Torre Del Lago.
Puccini had a prominent place in Italian music during his time. His strength was his melody and dramatic effect which is second to none. The excellent mass appeal and audience rapport which he created through his operas were tremendous. The operas for which is famous for, remains as a yardstick in present-day catalogue.
- Madama Butterfly (1900-1903)
- Gianni Schicchi
- Il Trittico
- Preludio sinfonico in A Major (1876)
- I Crisantemi for String Quartet (1892)
- Manon Lescaut
Frequently asked questions about Giacomo Puccini
What is Giacomo Puccini birthday?
Giacomo Puccini was born at December 22, 1858
Where is Giacomo Puccini's birth place?
Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca
What is Giacomo Puccini nationalities?
Giacomo Puccini's nationalities is Italian
Who is Giacomo Puccini spouses?
Giacomo Puccini's spouses is Elvira Gemignani
Who is Giacomo Puccini siblings?
Giacomo Puccini's siblings is Michele Puccini
Who is Giacomo Puccini childrens?
Giacomo Puccini's childrens is Antonio
What was Giacomo Puccini universities?
Giacomo Puccini studied at seminary of San Michele, seminary of the cathedral university
What is Giacomo Puccini's religion?
Giacomo Puccini's religion is Roman Catholic
Who is Giacomo Puccini's father?
Giacomo Puccini's father is Michele Puccini
Who is Giacomo Puccini's mother?
Giacomo Puccini's mother is Albina Magi
What is Giacomo Puccini's sun sign?
Giacomo Puccini is Sagittarius
When was Giacomo Puccini died?
Giacomo Puccini was died at November 29, 1924
Where was Giacomo Puccini died?
Giacomo Puccini was died in Brussels
Which age was Giacomo Puccini died?
Giacomo Puccini was died at age 65