Giacomo Puccini Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1858 - 1924 *** Full Name: Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini *** Occupation: Italian Composer *** Date of Birth: Giacomo Puccini was born on December 22nd 1858 *** Place of Birth: Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy *** Family background: His father was Michele Puccini and his mother was Albini Magi. He came from a musical family going back several generations to his great-great-grandfather with whom he shared his name and all of whom studied music at Bologna *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with eight siblings in Lucca *** Education: Giacomo Puccini received his education at the seminary of San Michele in Luca followed by the seminary of the cathedral *** Giacomo Puccini died on November 29, 1924
Puccini Fact 1: Giacomo Puccini was born on December 22nd 1858 and during the 19th century period in history when there was much change across Europe and the world, the first and second French, Spanish, Chinese and Holy Roman Empires all collapsed and Europe would see two World Wars.
Puccini Fact 2: His forefathers had held the position of Maestro di Cappella for one hundred and twenty four years and it was assumed Giacomo would follow his own father but when his father died he was only six years old and unable to take up the mantle of such of a position.
Puccini Fact 3: He wrote his first orchestral piece as a thesis composition called Capriccio Sinfonica for the Milan Conservatory.
Puccini Fact 4: Bazzini and Ponchielli, Puccini's teachers were both highly impressed by his work and it would be performed at the conservatory in the student concert.
Puccini Fact 5: Ponchielli speaking with Puccini after the success of Capriccio Sinfonica suggested his next work should be an opera and suggested he collaborate another young artist Fernando Fontana. They agreed to work together and produced Le Villi. Although Le Villi was entered into a competition, it did not place but would later be staged in 1884 at the Teatro Dal Verme followed by it’s purchase by Casa Ricordi and would be performed at La Scala in Milan in 1885.
Puccini Fact 6: The head of G. Ricordi & Co. publishers of music, Giulio Ricordi was so impressed with the young composer he commissioned him to write a second opera.
Puccini Fact 7: His second opera, Edgar, was premiered at La Scala in April of 1889 and was probably only finished with the intervention of Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica.
Puccini Fact 9: For his next three productions both Giacosa and Illica were both with Puccini and he wrote what would be his three most pieces, La boheme, Madam Butterfly and Tosca.
Puccini Fact 8: Edgar would not be a success and Ricordi was pressured by his board to drop Puccini but he continued to offer his support.
Puccini Fact 10: In 1903 Puccini was involve in a car accident and was seriously injured. The car was driven by his chauffeur and his wife, Elvira and their son, Antonio were also in the car when it off the road and flipped over. Both mother and child were spared any serious injury receiving only minor scrapes and bruises, the chauffeur , thrown from the vehicle had a serious broken leg while Puccini himself was trapped under the car. He also suffered a fracture to his right leg but was pinned down on his chest by the car itself. Puccini Fact 13: Giacosa died in 1906 and Ricordi passed away in 1912 which saw the end of a period of productivity in this career.
Puccini Fact 11: Fortunately a doctor living nearby heard the crash and went to investigate together with another neighbor which probably saved him from further distress and harm in the wreckage. It would take him many months to recover and as a result of the accident he was also found to have diabetes.
Puccini Fact 12: His recovery was very slow and so too was his work after that. In 1880 he moved to Milan to study at the Milan Conservatory where he attended many performances at La Scala. From 1891, he spent most of his time, when not traveling on business, at Torre del Lago and built a villa on Lake Massaciuccoli, now known as the "Villa Museo Puccini."
Puccini Fact 14: By 1923 he began to complain of sore throats. As a heavy chain smoker of cigarettes as well as cigars it was no great surprise when he was diagnosed with throat cancer and offered a new and experimental radiation therapy treatment.
Puccini Fact 15: Giacomo Puccini died on November 29, 1924 of a heart attack as a result of complications from the treatment he was receiving. His body was laid to rest in Toscanini’s family tomb in Milan.
Influence & Legacy of Puccini: Puccini’s operas are even more popular today than when they were written and are a regular part of the repertoire of many opera houses. His most popular operas were La Boheme, Tosca, Turandot and Madam Butterfly.
Short Facts about Giacomo Puccini for Kids
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