Giacomo Puccini

Giacomo Puccini Artistfacts

  • December 22, 1858 - November 29, 1924
  • Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini was born in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, one of nine children.
  • Young Puccini studied at the Pacini Institute of Music in Lucca. At first he was an indifferent student. Then, encouraged by a sympathetic teacher, he began to blossom as a church organist.
  • Puccini smoked from an early age and when he needed money to buy cigarettes he stole and sold the organ pipes from a village church in which he accompanied the services. The mischievous teenager then changed the harmonies so no one noticed the missing notes.
  • At about 17, inspired by a performance of the Verdi's Aida, Puccini determined to specialize in composing for the operatic stage.
  • He became one of the greatest ever Italian opera composers. Puccini is noted for such enduringly popular works as Madama Butterfly and La bohème.
  • His posthumous opera Turandot features Puccini's best known song "Nessun Dorma." It was famously sung by Luciano Pavarotti for the BBC's television coverage of the Football World Cup that was held in Italy in 1990.
  • In 1909, Puccini's wife, Elvira, accused their maid Doria Manfredi of having an affair with her husband. Doria committed suicide by taking mercury sublimate (then used as a rat poison) and died in terrible agony. It turned out Puccini was having an affair, not with Doria but with her cousin Giulia, which lasted until his death. The maid was merely the go-between. An autopsy found Doria died a virgin and Elvira was sued for slander.
  • Puccini died following treatment for throat cancer on November 29, 1924, in Brussels, Belgium.
  • The whole of Italy went into mourning at Puccini's death and Mussolini spoke at his funeral. (Source of all above: The Encyclopedia of Trivia).


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