This brilliant composer was born at Lucca, Italy, June 22, 1858. Angeloni, of Lucca, was his first instructor, but
he subsequently studied under Ponchielli at Milan Conservatory.
The success of his Sinfonia-Capriccio prompted Puccini, on the advice of Ponchielli, to attempt an opera. “Le Villi” was the result, and met with favor. Subsequently is was enlarged and produced at La Scala, Milan. Puccini’s next opera, “Edgar”, failed, but he atoned for this in 1893 with “Manon Lescaut”. In 1896 “La Boheme” was produced at Turin (February 1), and this placed its composer among the foremost of the young Italian composers.
Much of “La Boheme” deals with the composers own recollections of days spent not unhappily despite an empty purse. “Tosca” was produced in Rome, January 14, 1900, and following this came “Madam Butterfly”, the most popular of all Puccini’s works. (La Scala, Milan, 1904) the world is still awaiting Puccini’s setting of “The Girl of the Golden West” (1909), and it is possible that this work will show an advance over its predecessors.
Puccini has a wonderful gift of melody, and his orchestral and harmonic skill happily reflect the ever changing moods of the drama he depicts. He is easily the best of the young Italian composers.