Italian composer of operas "La Boheme" and "Madama Butterfly"; considered second only to Giuseppe Verdi; pioneered the verismo style.
He saw a performance of Verdi's "Aida" and abandoned plans to become a church organist, choosing instead to become an opera composer.
His plans to complete "Madama Butterfly" were impeded by a near-fatal car accident in which he was pinned underneath the car.
He married Elvira Gemignani after her husband was murdered by one of his mistresses; she, however, did not escape the turmoil of infidelity, as Puccini himself was a known womanizer.
He was briefly acquainted with Benito Mussolino, but never personally joined the fascist party, even though they made him an honorary member without his blessing.
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