Today is December 22, and on this day in 1858 Giacomo Puccini was born. Even a partial list of Puccini’s works reads like an “Opera’s Greatest Hits” list: La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, Turandot.
Over the last hundred years these operas have been performed thousands of times all over the world, and they’ve served as showcases for the greatest singers of every generation. Puccini came from a long line of famous Italian church musicians, and at first he was expected to follow in their footsteps. But at the age of 17 he attended a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, and it changed his life. Puccini’s first great success came in 1893 with Manon Lescaut, and after seeing just that one Puccini opera George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Puccini looks to me more like the heir of Verdi than any of his rivals.” And he was right.
A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.