29 November-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 and died the following year 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.

Giacomo Antonio Puccini died in Brussels at the age of 65 in the year 1924 On This Day.

Giacomo Puccini photo

Giacomo Puccini @ Lucca by zipckr on 2010-04-19 12:11:46

Photo by zipckr

Giacomo Puccin

28 November-East Timor

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste also known as East Timor occupies the Eastern section of the island of Timor in Southeast Asia. It was recognised as an independent state by the United Nations on May 20th 2002. East Timor occupies an area of 14,609 km2 and has a population of 1.2 million.

The Portuguese began to colonise the island of Timor during the 1600’s. The island was split between the Portuguese and the Dutch in 1749. However it was not until 1914 that a definitive border was established between the two sections of the island by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Following the 1974 coup, Portugal began to withdraw from its colonies. East Timor declared itself independent in 1975. This led to the country being invaded by Indonesia nine days later. The invasion was resisted by the people of East Timor and over the following two decades over 100,000 people died.

A referendum on independence supervised by the UN was held in 1999. The people of East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence. Timor-Leste became an internationally recognized independent state in 2002.

East Timor declared itself independent in the year 1975 On This Day.

reading in East Timor_2 by J.P. Esperança on 2008-01-01 00:00:00

 

 

28 November-Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (The Bard of Avon) was an English born poet, playwright and actor. He is credited with having written 38 plays and over 150 sonnets. He is widely regarded as the greatest dramatist of all time. Shakespeare is often referred to as the English national poet

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England in 1564. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582. At the time he was 18 and she was 26. They had three children, Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. At around the age of 21 Shakespeare moved to London where he began a successful career as an actor and writer.

Shakespeare was a member and part owner of a company of theatrical players called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. The company later became known as the King’s Men. The plays he wrote before 1600 in the early part of his career, such as Richard II and Henry V, were historical in nature. However Romeo and Juliet and the merchant of Venice were also written at this time. Later he wrote what were mainly tragedies. These included plays such as Hamlet and Macbeth. In the last phase of his career he wrote tragicomedies such as The Tempest.

Though Shakespeare became well known as an actor and playwright during his lifetime his writings have remained popular down through the centuries. Today his dramatic genius is well recognised. His plays, which have been translated into every major living language, are highly popular and are constantly studied. Having moved back to live in Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare died there at the age of 52 on April 23rd 1616.

William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway in the year 1582 On This Day.

 

28 November-Sonia O’Sullivan

Sonia O’Sullivan, who is a native of Co Cork, is one of Ireland’s most successful athletes. She represented Ireland at four Olympic Games, winning an Olympic Silver Medal on September 25th 2000 in Sydney. O’Sullivan also won European Gold and World Gold Medals. She was Chef De Mission for the Irish team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Sonia “Fran” O’Sullivan was born in Cobh, Co Cork in November 1969. She was educated at Cobh Vocational School and began her athletic career with Ballymore Running Club in the town of Cobh. In 1988 O’Sullivan was awarded a scholarship to Villanova University in Philadelphia, USA. She graduated from there with a degree in Accounting in 1992.

Prior to winning her Olympic Medal, Sonia O’Sullivan had a long list of successes to her credit. These included:

•Three World Championship Gold Medals

•Three European Championship Gold Medals

•Four World Records

Sonia O’Sullivan was born in the year 1969 On This Day.

January 1, 1992 by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1992-01-01 13:09:18

The Sydney Olympics Flame by Richard_F on 2004-08-15 15:07:43

 

28 November-Leighlinbridge Meteorite

Leighlinbridge is a picturesque and historic village located on the river Barrow about 10km south of Carlow town, Ireland. It is the location where the last meteorite to fall in Ireland was recovered. It is thought that it is the last known meteorite of the last millennium to have landed on earth and to have been recovered. The rock which is billions of years old was recovered by an elderly lady on December 12th 1999, a fortnight after it had fallen. The International Meteorite Nomenclature Committee has officially named the meteorite ‘Leighlinbridge’

Apart from the ‘Leighlinbridge’ at least eight other meteorites have been recovered in Ireland. Each one is named after the area in which it was found. The ‘Pettiswood’ landed in 1779 near Mullingar Co Westmeath. In 1810 the ‘Mooresoft’ landed near Lattin, Co Tipperary. The ‘Limerick’ fell to earth near Adare, Co Limerick in 1813. The ‘Killeter’ landed near the town of Castlederg Co Tyrone in 1844. In 1865 the ‘Dundrum’ fell near the village of Dundrum in Co Tipperary. The ‘Crumlin’ fell near Crumlin in Co Antrim in 1902 and in 1969 the ‘Bovedy’ fell near the town of Limavady in Co Derry. Parts of the meteorites are stored in the National Museum in Dublin and the Natural History Museum in London and the Smithsonian Institute in the US.

On the night the ‘Leighlinbridge’ fell to earth an exploding fireball lasting several seconds was observed over Carlow town. This was followed by a loud noise from the following sound waves, which were travelling more slowly and which caused houses to shake. Following the initial discovery on December 14th two more pieces of the meteorite were found later. A Scottish meteor dealer purchased the Leighlinbridge Meteor for £20,000. It was analysed at the National History Museum in London and a piece of the meteorite weighing about a gram was offered for sale in 2009 for £250.

The Leighlinbridge Meteorite lit up the night sky over Carlow as it fell to earth just after 10pm in the year 1999 On This Day.

Leighlinbridge by nilachseall on 2014-10-10 08:42:51

Awayland by David Bergin Photography on 2013-01-27 15:24:20

Barrow River at Leighlinbridge