Puccini, the most famous opera composer in the world was born into a family of musicians. As a child, he studied singing and the organ before attending a performance of Aida, which would turn out to be a true revelation for the composer. A vocation was born; Puccini was almost solely a composer of opera. In 1884, at the end of his studies, he gave a performance of his opera, The Fairies, which was quickly produced at the Scala.
Considered as following in the tradition of Giuseppe Verdi, Manon Lescaut (1893) brought the composer fame beyond the frontiers of Italy. Puccini began to master opera. He called upon good librettists and composed works whose success would be resounding: La Bohème, Tosca (greatly admired by Arnold Schoenberg), Madame Butterfly. He became rich and divided his time between composition, hunting and sports cars.
After briefly turning to operetta, La Rondine (1917), in 1918 Puccini produced his great masterpiece, his trilogy, the Triptych. He was accustomed to describing it as “Without melody, fresh and poignant, it is not an opera”. The composer therefore based his conception of music on fundamental emotions and composed works where the art of beautiful song seemed innate. The lyrical surges are irresistible, sustained by a superbly harmonic backcloth. Beneath the apparent simplicity or evidence of his music, Puccini left complex works. Frequently the key “bursts” according to Schoenberg. The dramatic efficiency of his works is remarkable and his orchestration always voluptuous. Puccini succumbed to cancer in 1924 leaving one of his most daring operas, Turandot, unfinished.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky Festival
Stefano Poda (stage director), Gianandrea Noseda (conductor) – With Rebeka Lokar (Princess Turandot), Jorge de León (Prince Calaf), Erika Grimaldi (Liù)...
Live from The Waldbühne in Berlin
Claus Guth (stage director), Gustavo Dudamel (music direction) – With Nicole Car (Mimì), Aida Garifullina (Musetta), Atalla Ayan (Rodolfo)...
Latvian National Opera
Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier (stage directors), Antonio Pappano (conductor) – With Ermonela Jaho (Cio-Cio-San), Marcelo Puente (Pinkerton), Scott Hendr...
The Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Orchestra del Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
Nicolas Joel (stage director), Daniel Oren (conductor) – With Svetla Vassileva (Tosca), Gustavo Porta (Cavaradossi), Sergey Murzaev (Scarpia)...
Rolando Villazón (stage director), Roberto Rizzi Brignoli (music direction) – With Dinara Alieva (Magda) and Charles Castronovo (Ruggero)
Franco Zeffirelli (stage director), Giuliano Carella (music director) – WIth Maria Guleghina (Princess Turandot), Salvatore Licitra (Calaf), Tamar Iveri (L...
Giancarlo del Monaco (stage director), Jesús López Cobos (music director) – With Inva Mula, Laura Giordano...
2003 St. Petersburg Gala, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the city
In 1965 and 1958
Orchestra and choirs of the Opéra de Paris, Georges Sébastian (conductor)
Francesca Zambello (stage director), Tiziano Severini (conductor) – With Mirella Freni (Mimi), Luciano Pavarotti (Rodolfo) – San Francisco Opera
Including extensive interviews and exclusive footage of La Divina in concert
Thomas Hengelbrock and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera (stage director), Paolo Arrivabeni (conductor) – With Patrizia Ciofi (Mimi), Gianluca Terranova (Rodolfo)...
2016 Manhattan School of Music
Gala at the Wiener Staatsoper
Waldbühne 2010: Night of Love – Berliner Philharmoniker
Nikolaus Lehnoff (stage director), Carlo Rizzi (conductor) – With Eva-Maria Westbroek (Minnie), Lucio Gallo (Jack Rance) and Zoran Todorovich (Dick Johnson...
With Fiorenza Cedolins (soprano) and Joseph Calleja (tenor)
A documentary by Vincent Paterson on the famous soprano