Giacomo Puccini was composer of Italian operas. He was born in a place called Lucca, Italy in 1858, and his parents had a long music history. When his father died when he was still 5 years old, his uncle Fortunato Magi took him to study because he considered him undisciplined and poor student. Afterwards, he became organist in the church, but he was inspired by Verdi’s Aida to be a composer of opera. The major operas by Puccini include Manon Lescaut (produced first in Turin – 1893), La Boheme (Turin-1896), Tosca (Rome-1900), Madame Butterfly (La Scala-1904), La faciulla del west (Metropolitan Opera in New York-1910), La Rondine (Monte Carlo-1917), Il Trittico (Metropolitan Opera in New York-1918), Turandot (was unfinished the time Puccini died-1924) as well as La Scala that completed by Franco Alfano in 1926.
La Boheme was one of the most popular Puccini’s operas, and it was composed in 4 acts. According to this title, the words sung in La Boheme is obtained from a novel called “Scenes de la vie de boheme” by Henri Murger – a vignettes’ collection showing young Bohemians residing in Latin Quarter (Paris) in 1840s. The libretto used in this opera is like that used by Murger and Theodore Barriere in 1849 play, concentrates on the relationship between Rodolfo and Mimi, which ended in her death. Much of the words sung in this opera are original. In acts 2 and 3, the main plots used are invention of the liberalists, with less passing references to the incidents as well as characters in Murger. On the other hand, acts 1 and 4 mostly go by the novel, bringing together different episodes from different chapters. The last scenes in these acts, 1 and 4, (on Rodolfo and Mimi) are similar for both the novel and the play. The story of how they met nearly follows chapter eighteen of the novel whereby the two lovers residing in garret are Jacques and Francine, and not Rodolphe and Mimi. Mimi’s death story in the novel came from two different chapters.
However, this section discusses some of the other works by Puccini. Puccini’s Italian opera, Tosca, is in 3 acts, and it is based on La Tosca – a drama by Victorien Sardou (19th C French playwright) that has five acts. The initial performance of this drama was on 24th November 1887 in Paris (at “Theatre de la Porte Saint-Martin”), with the title role being taken by Sarah Bernhardt. The play by Sardou was seen by Puccini in 1889, as it was spreading across Italy, and after a little vacillation, he was granted the rights in 1895 to change the work to be an opera (Puccini changed it from French play to an Italian opera in four years). However, in terms of music, Tosca is framed to appear as through-composed work, whereby the choruses, arias, and recitative among other elements are musically woven to form a seamless whole. Short musical statements were used by Puccini to identify ideas, characters and objects. Furthermore, Madama Butterfly is another opera in 3 acts (originally it was 2 acts) by Puccini. The libretto used in this opera is based on “Madame Butterfly” (a short story - 1898) by John Luther Long. David Belasco dramatized the short story. Puccini saw it first when it moved to London from New York during the summer in 1900. Originally, the opera had 2 acts but Puccini revised it by dividing the 2nd act into 2 acts and also making several other changes. There was a big success when the new version was performed on 28th May 1904, in Brescia. Last, but not least, Puccini composed another opera called La fanciulla del West – The Girl of the West. The opera has 3 acts, and it is based on David Belasco’s play called “The Girl of the Golden West”. The opera is made up of little show-stopping highlights that are characteristic associated with other Puccini’s works; however, it is admired because of its appealing orchestration and the melodically integrated score as compared to the typical of his earlier works.