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Puccini became world famous with his next three operas, they also established him as the most remarkable Italian opera composer since Verdi. The operas were: “La Boheme” (1896), “Tosca” (1900) and “Madame Butterfly” (1904). In all three operas Luigi Illica and Guiseppe Giacosa were the librettists and Puccini`s advisers. With “Fanciulla del West” (The Girl of the Golden West) he had a brilliant Metropolitan premiere; the American opera house was also the venue for the first performance of “Il Trittico” (Tryptich), “Il Tabarro” (The Cloak), “Suor Angelica” (Sister Angelique) and “Gianni Schicchi” in 1918. During the last four years of his life Puccini worked on what many people consider his greatest opera “Turandot”. It is based on a play by Carlo Gozzi “Turandotte”. The last two scenes were completed by Franco Alfano from Puccini`s sketches, as the master had died on 29. November 1924 in Brussels before the opera`s completion`. “Turandot” was first performed in Milan in 1926. The tune "Nessun Dorma" featured therein gained international fame when the Three Tenors (Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti) sung it at the 1990 Football World Cup in Italy. Subsequently "Nessun Dorma" has become a quasi signature tune for Luciano Pavarotti.
The actions in Puccini`s operas are relatively uncomplicated, so that even spectators who do not understand the texts comprehend what happens. He was a master in portraying simple people. Heroes and scoundrels are rarely featured (Tosca is an exception). The fate of Puccini`s “heroines” are an indication of the empathy he felt for people – these women always come to a sad end despite their love and devotion for their male lovers. This is exemplified in his opera “Il Tabarro” by the phrase: “Chi ha vissuto per amore, per amore si mori” (He who has lived for love , has died for love). Compassion and radiance are further characteristics of his music and also represent his own suffering from almost constant melancholy. Puccini`s concept is certainly deeply rooted within the tradition of 19th century Italian opera. He realized contemporary developments of other composers like Wagner and Stravinsky and assigned the orchestra a more important role. But according to Italian tradition the main focus had to be placed on the vocal part, that means the singers.
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