01 January-Giacomo Puccini

The 1990 Football World Cup, which was held in Italy, had as its theme tune ‘Nessun Dorma’. It was composed by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and performed by Luciano Pavarotti . Nessun Dorma is an aria from Puccini’s final opera, Turandot which was left incomplete at the time of his death.

Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Tuscany on December 22nd 1858. His father, who was the musical director of the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca, died when Puccini was five years old. The city of Lucca paid for his education and kept the position of Musical Director open for him so that he could follow in the family tradition when he came of age. He studied locally and in 1880 went to the Milan Conservatory to continue his studies and graduated in 1883.

In 1876, while still at school, Puccini attended a production of Verdi’s Aida in Pisa just over 30 km from his home city of Lucca. The experience convinced him to pursue a career in opera. Following graduation from the Milan Conservatory, Puccini composed ‘Le Villi’ for a local competition. When it was successfully performed later at Teatro dal Verme in Milan it was purchased by music publisher Giulio Ricordi. A revised version of the opera was successfully staged at La Scala in Milan on January 24th 1885. Puccini and Ricordi became friends and cooperated on operatic productions throughout their lives.

During his career Puccini’s compositions included La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot which was completed by Franco Alfono. Puccini became famous and his operas were performed all over the world. His works are among the most frequently performed in the history of opera. In 1920 he began work on Turandot. In 1923 he was diagnosed with cancer of the throat. He died at the age of 65 on November 29th 1924 while undergoing radiation treatment in Brussels. He is buried in his villa at Torre del Lago about 25km east of Lucca on the coast of Tuscany.

Puccini’s opera ‘La Boheme’ premiered in Turin, Italy in the year 1896 On This Day.

Giacomo Puccini by Tavallai on 2010-06-05 14:07:37

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