A member of a dynasty of musicians, Giacomo Puccini was the most famous Italian opera composer, next only to Verdi. Puccini began his music education in his native Lucca and continued at the Milan Conservatory where he was a student of Ponchielli and Bazzini. Puccini’s first outstanding success was in 1893 with Manon Lescaut. Puccini wrote 12 operas, a number of orchestral compositions, sacred music and songs. Puccini’s melodic gift made his arias exceedingly popular.News of Puccini’s death in 1924, was announced Rome during a performance of his La bohème in Rome. The orchestra stopped the performance and played Chopin's Funeral March to a sobbing audience.
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