Lucca is proud of its outstanding musical tradition which can
be rarely equalled; it counts composers as, Nicolao Dorati, Cristoforo
Malvezzi, Gioseffo Guami, Giovanni Lorenzo Gregori, Francesco
Barsanti, Francesco Geminiani, Filippo Manfredi, Luigi Boccherini,
Alfredo Catalani e Giacomo Puccini.
Three among the major musicians of Lucca are particularly represented
of this land of artists honoured all over the world: Luigi
Boccherini (Lucca, 1743 - Madrid, 1805), Alfredo Catalani
(Lucca, 1854 - Milan, 1893) and Giacomo Puccini (Lucca,
1858 - Brussels, 1924). All three were sons of art.
The father of Luigi Boccherini was double bassist player
who struggled to bring up his sons in a musical environment. According
to tradition, Luigi attended "Seminario Vannucci" studying with
In 1751 he was appointed as treble voice in the musical event
celebrating the feast in honor of the Holy Cross. He stayed in
Rome for some time, and when he went back to Lucca he played in
the monastery of St. Domenico as violoncello solista.
Then he started travelling abroad, often to Vienna, acquiring
a larger experience without forgetting his love for his native
In 1761 he applied for the position of violoncello in the Cappella
di Palazzo which was granted him in 1764. After his father's death
in 1764, Boccherini left Lucca forever starting a tour with Filippo
Manfredi (of the same country) which brought him definitely to
Spain. Lucca never forgot him and considers him as one of the
glories of the town.
The father of Alfredo Catalani, Eugenio, was a good musician,
teacher, and also a musical organiser.
Catalani undertook classical studies at the "Liceo" of the town
and, at the same time, in 1863, he undertook, musical studies
at the Istituto Musicale. Here he became a pupil of the scholar
and composer Fortunato Magi, uncle of Giacomo Puccini.
He achieved his diploma with the composition and execution of
a "Messa" with 4 voices, choir and orchestra.
The performance obtained a flattering reaction from the public
and the critics. It was his lucky moment, and further offers came
from the conservatories of Paris and Milan.
Lucca became the place where he passed periods of rest between
the intensive moments of work dedicated to the composition of
In 1892, at the Teatro del Giglio "La Wally" was represented and
directed by Arturo Toscanini, one of his greatest supporters,
and the town honoured him warmly.
Giacomo Puccini was son, grand son, great-grand son and
great great -grand son of art. It's well-known that he was the
last musician of a very singular dynasty that dominated the musical
scene for 150 years.
His family previewed the brilliant destiny of the child and christened
him with all the names of his ancestors: Giacomo, Antonio, Michele,
adding the specifying of second (he was the second "Giacomo Puccini").
Puccini, as Boccherini, was involved in the musical services of
the Santa Croce, with a more important role because of his age.
Some anecdotes describe him as a very unconventional character
who during his studies performed in churches, but played the organ
and the piano as well in private places and theatres; some of
the local critics previewed the quality of the future composer,
but were worried for the irregularity of his learning style.
Finally he obtained the position of organist in the Cathedral,
that the members of his family had occupied since 1740.
After that he moved to the Conservatory of Milan. In 1880, he
got, as Catalani, the diploma of composition with a "Messa" with
From then on Puccini did never more live in Lucca, but while working
to his compositions he used to choose places close to the town
and to its natural environment.
Lucca was always enthusiastic of his operas and crowned the replicas
that took regularly place a couple of months after the first performance.