His looks were very important to him. He was always elegantly dressed and loved beautiful hats, a grand seigneur all the way. Thanks to Giuseppe Adami we know how he looked on the day of the Premio del Commercio: he wore an elegant, dark grey waistcoat, a bowler hat and a tie in the same colour with a big pearl on it.
He was an avid smoker and “with a cigarette between his lips, his dented hat at an angle, with something masculine and affectionate in his intelligent face and in his vigorous posture” (Adami), he certainly looked handsome and attractive.
That was the intention. He loved cars and driving, and he bought his first one as early as 1901: a De Dion Bouton. One of his car rides was almost fatal: after an accident he passed out and broke his leg. It didn’t stop him from buying newer and newer models, even more beautiful and faster.
Hunting was his greatest hobby. Not that he was very good at it – it seems that he often missed and thus spoiled the fun for the others. Then why did he do it? “For him, hunting was more of a display of virility, and as he grew older, the need to prove his masculinity grew stronger and stronger” (van Leeuwen). His masculinity… yes, he loved women.
Only in 1904 he married the woman with whom he had lived for many years and with whom he had a son. There was no longer any question of love, but it was the decent thing to do. His wife, Evira Bonturi, was very jealous and not without reason. Apart from many short adventures and affairs he had a long relationship with a mysterious woman from Turin, a relationship that was so serious, that he was already considering divorce.
Why and how he ended the affair is not known. Another known scandal involved a maid who was unjustly accused by the lady of the house of having a relationship with her employer and then committed suicide.
His works are very erotic and his heroines get to sing the most beautiful music. He once said: “Il giorno in cui non sarò più innamorato fatemi il funerale” (On the day when I am no longer in love, bury me).
Tu, che di gel sei cinta’ from Turandot is the last aria he composed. The lyrics are also his own:
He died while working on what should have been the most beautiful and greatest love duet in his oeuvre. And until the last moment he was occupied with his looks: Puccini, the man who loved women.
Below the finale of Turandot, in the ‘original version’ of Franco Alfano who completed the opera after Puccini’s death:
Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator
Musings on Tosca
Musings on Tosca