^ Back to Top
^ Back to Discography
Classical Music Home

The World's Leading Classical Music Group

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?
Keyword Search


(1858 - 1924)

Descended from a family of musicians, Puccini was the most important Italian opera composer in the generation after Verdi. He was born and educated in Lucca, later studying under Ponchielli at the Milan Conservatory. He began his career as a composer of opera with Le Villi, on the story familiar from Adam’s ballet Giselle, but first won significant success in 1893 with Manon Lescaut. A musical dramatist of considerable power, if sometimes lacking in depth, he wrote 12 operas in total, the last, Turandot, still unfinished at the time of his death in 1924.


The opera Manon Lescaut, using the full name of the heroine of the 18th-century Abbé Prévost’s novel to distinguish the work from Massenet’s treatment of the same subject, won great success. Manon, seduced by the old Géronte, returns to her former lover, Des Grieux, but is betrayed to the authorities and transported to America, where she dies in the arms of her lover, who has followed her. La Bohème, first staged in 1896, centres on the love of Mimì and the poet Rodolfo in the Latin Quarter of Paris, a story of innocent love, betrayal and the final death of the heroine. Tosca, staged first in Rome in 1900, deals with the love of the singer Tosca for the painter Cavaradossi, their implication in revolutionary activities, and their death through the machinations of the wicked police chief Scarpia, himself murdered by Tosca. Madama Butterfly is a story of love betrayed, the innocent Japanese heroine of the title deserted by her faithless American husband and finally compelled to suicide. La Fanciulla del West (‘The Girl of the Golden West’) is set in a slightly improbable Wild West, while the triptych Il Trittico, three short operas that include Gianni Schicchi, attempts a change of mood. Puccini’s last opera, Turandot, based on a Chinese story by the 18th-century dramatist Gozzi, makes inappropriate use of Chinese melodies, but is a moving study of the love of the suitor Prince Calaf for the icy-hearted and cruel Princess Turandot. All ends happily, but not before moments of suspense, marked by the famous tenor aria ‘Nessun dorma’ (‘Let no one sleep’).

Chamber and Choral Music

Some of the musical material of a particularly poignant moment in Manon Lescaut appears in a set of pieces for string quartet by Puccini, Crisantemi (‘Chrysanthemums’), part of a very small output of instrumental music, little of which was published by the composer. His Messa di Gloria, rediscovered relatively recently, was written in 1880, marking the end of Puccini’s studies in Lucca. His orchestral Preludio sinfonico also dates from this early period of his career.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
25th Anniversary Boxed Sets - Opera Naxos 8.501054
A to Z Gift Pack Naxos 8.554775
Cinema Classics Box I (Vols 1-5) Naxos 8.505019
Classic Bouquet Naxos 8.505080
Die Welt der Oper Naxos 8.503061
Enjoy the Classics (Best of Naxos 1-4) Naxos 8.504003
NESSUN DORMA! - Beruhmte Arien & Duette aus italienischen Opern Naxos 8.503085

  View Albums

For picture licensing, please contact customer service.

 Tell a Friend |  Bookmark this page Digg It |  Bookmark this page Del.icio.us. |  Add to Facebook Facebook |  FURL FURL |  Add to MySpace MySpace |  Stumbleupon StumbleUpon |  Twitter Twitter

Famous Composers Quick Link:
Bach | Beethoven | Chopin | Dowland | Handel | Haydn | Mozart | Glazunov | Schumann | R Strauss | Vivaldi
1:21:41 AM, 20 April 2014
All Naxos Historical, Naxos Classical Archives, Naxos Jazz, Folk and Rock Legends and Naxos Nostalgia titles are not available in the United States and some titles may not be available in Australia and Singapore because these countries have copyright laws that provide or may provide for terms of protection for sound recordings that differ from the rest of the world.
Copyright © 2014 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved.     Terms of Use     Privacy Policy
Classical Music Home
NOTICE: This site was unavailable for several hours on Saturday, June 25th 2011 due to some unexpected but essential maintenance work. We apologize for any inconvenience.