Personalities | Giuseppe Giacosa | Turn of the Century | Opera
Under Arrigo Boito’s influence, Giacosa developed into the leading Italian playwright of the time. His most striking operatic work was made in conjunction with Puccini. Initially brought in by Giulio Ricordi to smooth the troubled relationship between Puccini and Luigi Illica, Giacosa soon became indispensable. It was Giacosa’s responsibility to take the detailed scenario worked out by Illica and turn it into refined verse. The three men produced the three best-loved of Puccini’s operas: La bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Giacosa supported himself through teaching until the 1890s when his growing success enabled him to concentrate purely on writing. Even before this, though, he was regarded as a literary heavyweight and for Ricordi to win his services was a significant feat.
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