Puccini’s last descendant is dead

Simonetta Puccini, whose claim to be the composer’s illegitimate granddaughter was recognised after fierce legal battles, died yesterday at 89.

Simonetta Giurumello was the child of Puccini’s only son, Antonio, whose marriage was childless. Antonio died in 1946. His widow, Rita, who died in 1979, left the composer’s estate to her bachelor brother. His butler is alleged to have enriched himself on the proceeds.

Simonetta, on winning her case, took Puccini’s name and restored his home at Torre del Lago.

There are more twists to the inheritance saga, crying out for a good librettist.

 

 

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  • “There are more twists to the inheritance saga, crying out for a good librettist” – hopefully your words will fulfill another day

  • I first met Simonetta Puccini thanks to my good friend Dr. Gottfried H. Wagner in Milan at Casa Verdi. She gave me a tour of the place. She knew and introduced me to all the wonderful residents. She then took me to Verdi’s Grave in Casa Verdi. As we stood in front of the grave of Verdi, she turned to me and somewhat wryly commented: “Vedi. È circondato da tutte le sue donne.” And indeed, surrounding the great composer in his tomb were his wife of years, Giuseppina Strepponi
    and one his favorite singers and possibly his mistress, Teresa Stotz…and if memory plays me right, the dog, Lulu. Not sure about that.
    I was at that time, the Artistic Director and Conductor of Opera Theater of Northern Virginia. After my appointment with her, we met several times and in the end, we made the arrangements for her to come to America, specifically to Arlington, Virginia to see a performance—one of the first stagings–of Puccini’s second opera EDGAR. We presented the opera at the Thomas Jefferson Theater in Arlington, Virginia. It was staged by Ellen Douglas Schaefer, now the Director of Opera at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, SC. I remember we had in the title role a young local tenor by the name of Carl Tanner. He has now gone to bigger things in the world of opera.
    Two years later, I met with her again in Milan—thanks to Gottfried Wagner—and we arranged for a performance of Le Villi, his first opera along with a recital of songs written by Puccini when he was a student at the conservatory at Milan. Again, Simonetta Puccini was there for all the performances. It was again staged by Ellen Douglas Schaefer.
    I should point out that I was greatly assisted by my friend and colleague Michael Kaye who gave wonderful assistance in preparing both operas.
    I value the wonderful experience of meeting and getting to know this wonderful lady. She was a good friend and colleague. I will miss her very much.
    RIP Simonetta Puccini

    • I met Simonetta at Torre del Lago during a visit to the museum as my name is Pagni she approached me as. Her grandad GIacomo had a great friends in Torre del Lago during his stay composing various operas including La Boheme his name Pagni and she ask to purchase the book of Giacomo Puccini story. Fascinating ,lady and deeply sad of her loss but she been smiling from up there having fought the legal battle to restore her rigth full place as a Puccini

      Tks for your note I am delighted to read she was fully involved over the last 10 years (that was about the time I met her). I am surprised that no producer has thought of making a film about Puccini life as it fascinating and would have a world wide appeal. And would be a fitting homage in Simonetta life Tks for your great comments. Tks again Sergio Pagni

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