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05 LAST20050211The first world war curtailed Puccini's trips abroad.

Forced to remain at home, he was a first hand witness to the political instability and social restlessness in Italy which had evolved throughout the war years.

These factors may well have contributed, along with the advent of a malodorous peat factory, to his decision to move from Torre del Lago to a new villa at Viareggio in 1921.

Living amidst this unsettled post-war mood, he felt increasingly in need of a complete change of artistic direction.

In the resulting opera, Turandot, Puccini felt he was creating was ""an original and perhaps unique work"", and he spent the last four years of his life devoted to producing what he regarded as his masterpiece.

Il tabarro (excerpt)LONDON Symphony Orchestra

Lorin Maazel (conductor)

Opening scene from Il tabarro

Renata Scotto (soprano)

Placido Domingo (tenor)

John Treleaven (tenor)

Michel S退n退chal (tenor)

Ingvar Wixell (baritone)

Denis Wicks (bass)

Ambrosian Opera Chorus

Senza mamma, o bimbo (Suor Angelica)

Julia Varady (soprano)BERLIN Radio Symphony Orchestra

Marcello Viotti (conductor)

Finale from Gianni Schicchi

Tito Gobbi (baritone)

Ileana Cotrubas (soprano)

Guido Mazzini (baritone)LONDON Symphony Orchestra

Liù's torture and Death (Act 3 Turandot)

Barbara Hendricks (soprano)

Katia Ricciarelli (soprano)

Ruggero Raimondi (baritone)

Vienna State Opera Chorus

Vienna Philharmonic

Herbert von Karajan (conductor)

Requiem Aeternam (Edgar)

Schola Cantorum of NEW YORKNEW YORK City Opera Children's Chorus

Opera Orchestra of NEW YORK

Eve Queler (conductor).