Scandalissimo! Puccini's sex life exposed
The private life of Giacomo Puccini was famously as colourful as his operas, but only now has the truth emerged about the scandal that almost undid him. It's an extraordinary tale of infidelity, jealousy and vengeance that continues to haunt the lives of his descendants to this day
By Adrian Mourby
This year, the many celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Puccini's birth are set to include the unveiling of a new al fresco opera house on the shores of the lake where many of his masterpieces were composed. Giacomo Puccini was the most commercially successful opera composer there has ever been. At his death in 1924 he was worth well over £130m by today's standards.
Much of this wealth came from the wonder years (1895-1904) when the Tuscan maestro turned out in rapid succession three of the most widely performed operas in the world, La Bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly, while living in idyllic surroundings in Torre del Lago on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli. Then he seemed to run out of steam, not finishing his next work, La Fanciulla del West, until 1910. While accomplished, La Fanciulla isn't in the same league as Bohème, Tosca and Butterfly. So what went wrong?
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