Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca December 22, 1858 by a family of four generations is dedicated to music, both on the paternal than maternal. His father, Michael (1813-1864) died when James was just over five years, and the musical education of the boy is entrusted to the maternal uncle Fortunato Magi, then Carlo Angeloni, both alumni of the father. Following the family tradition, Puccini became a chorister (1868), then organist (1872); and in this capacity he is also active as a composer early. In 1874 he allowed the institute Musicale Pacini of Lucca, and two years later he wrote the Prelude to orchestra. In 1880 he took leave from Lucca with a Mass of glory that receives an excellent and, attracted by the theater, in November he moved to Milan to sustain the entrance exam at the Conservatory, where his teachers Antonio Bazzini, only just over a month, and Amilcare Ponchielli. In July 1883 he completed his studies by running as the final essay symphonic Capriccio, directed by Franco Faccio, who is very well judged. In October, the publisher publishes Sonzogno melody for voice and piano Storiella love; at the same time he works in a one-act Le Willis, on a libretto by Ferdinando Fontana who got through the efforts of Ponchielli, and with this work participated in the first competition organized by Melodramatic Sonzogno. The work is not rewarded but, thanks to ‘help of some friends (including Ponchielli, Fountain, Arrigo Boito and Giulio Ricordi), is shown May 31, 1884 at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, with great success. Remember the buy and gives the author commissioned to write another one. Puccini returned to Lucca, where he began living with Elvira Bonturi, wife of the grocer Narciso Gemignani, who will marry only in 1904. Had the new booklet Fontana, Edgar, a dark story dating whose plot is reminiscent of Carmen, it begins the writing music with little conviction in the meantime (summer 1886) he moved to Monza with Elvira and her daughter, Fosca, and here on December 23 will be born the only son, Antonio. When Edgar finally staged (Milan, Scala, April 21, 1889), it is a failure, the rest largely provided by the author and the publisher, which, however, confirms its confidence in the composer. Are difficult times for Puccini, who in the meantime has been based in Milan, and think of new subjects: Sardou’s Tosca and Manon Lescaut Prévost. Is chosen this subject, despite the risk of a dangerous confrontation with the acclaimed opera by Massenet and, in 1890, after a hard work of collaboration between Memories, Leoncavallo, Domenico Oliva and Marco Prague, the booklet is ready and can Puccini begin our composition in the new house of Torre del Lago. But before the work can be considered finished (autumn 1892), the booklet must be undergone extensive rebuilding trust in Luigi Illica with the advice of Giuseppe Giacosa. The February 1, 1893 triumph of Manon Lescaut brings to an end a long period of uncertainty: not only the subject more congenial, but also acquired the consciousness of having to exercise a regular check on the development libretto are the basis of the attained mastery.
A few months after Puccini chooses la Vie de Bohème Murger, and the booklet is still entrusted to Illica, with the collaboration of Giuseppe Giacosa. Working with a series of ups and downs of excitement and puzzlement that will remain a constant work Puccini covers all 1894 and 1895. And only on February 1 next La Bohème has its baptism in Turin with a lukewarm success, But that is making impressive during replication and during the shooting in other Italian theaters. Meanwhile Puccini is often on the road, followed by performances of his works in various Italian cities and abroad: since 1892 has been in Madrid for Edgar and Hamburg to Le Villi; then he went to Vienna and Paris, where in 1898 presents La Bohème with great success. However, the search for a new subject for the next work become a major concern of Puccini: Tosca and resurfaces the project, entrusted to the well proven experience of Illica and Giacosa. Processing libretto is once again very painful, even for perplexed Image and Giacosa, and the effort to adapt to the needs of Sardou. As in La Bohème, also the first contact of the public with Tosca (Rome, 14 January 1900) is not exciting, but just a few months because the new work enters also in the repertoire of the major European theaters. In July 1900 Puccini saw in London drama Long and Belasco Madame Butterfly: the person who is chosen, setting aside other ideas, including a Marie Antoinette. I am always working Illica and Giacosa, struggling with the usual concerns; but the slowness with which we proceed this time is also caused by a serious car accident (in February 1903), which results in Puccini a broken leg and a particularly long convalescence. The first version of Madama Butterfly, in two acts (Milan, Scala, February 17, 1904) is a dismal failure; but only three months after the resumption of Brescia, in three acts, with some modifications and broad cuts, determine the success of the work. Now he talks about it to Marie Antoinette, and a triptych of stories of Gorky; It is also the time to travel to London and a long stay in Buenos Aires (1905). Then it was the turn of New York (1907), where Puccini had the opportunity to see a play by Belasco, who will be behind the new opera La Fanciulla del West. The librettists this time are Carlo Zangarini and Guelph Civinini. and the first performance took place, with a warm success, at the Metropolitan in New York (December 10, 1910). With the death of Giulio Ricordi (6 June 1912) ends the most intense creative period of Puccini, which is now attracted to the idea of a collaboration with D’Annunzio, and back to think of a series of three one-act plays. On all these projects prevails, however the substantial offer to Viennese operetta, which will be the swallow, written by Giuseppe Adami and destined publisher Sonzogno: born in the war years, in the face of great perplexity, the new work is represented in Montecarlo March 27, 1917, and will never have an easy time, despite the glaring changes which will be submitted. Meanwhile he took shape the “Triptych”, including Il Tabarro written by Giuseppe Adami, and two texts of Gioachino Forzano, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi; The triptych is staged December 14, 1918 at the Metropolitan in New York. Turandot is the new entity that chooses Puccini early 1920 and which entrusts the elaboration of the well-proven libretto Giuseppe Adami, which joins the theatrical experience of Renato Simoni. It ‘a work that engages Puccini for many years, with a particularly alternate course, also because the composer suffer from throat in October 1924 will be diagnosed as cancer. In late 1923, the Turandot is almost complete, but still lack the final duet, the text of which is painstakingly reworked. While any tweaks and revisions, in September 1924 Puccini makes arrangements with Toscanini for the first performance, scheduled for April next, but on November 4, with the final duet not yet composed, Puccini to Brussels, where He was admitted to a clinic. 24 is operated by the throat, and died on November 29, 1924.
Taken from: Dizionario Pucciniano by Eduardo Rescigno (Ricordi edition).