Simonetta Puccini, who went to court docket to show that she was a descendant of the composer Giacomo Puccini and, after she received that case, labored to additional Puccini’s legacy, died on Dec. 16 in Milan. She was 89 by most accounts.
Her dying was confirmed by her good friend Herbert Handt, the conductor, who didn’t give a trigger. She was Puccini’s solely acknowledged remaining descendant.
Ms. Puccini was, for half of her life, Simonetta Giurumello. She obtained a level in literature from the College of Milan and have become a instructor, however she left that career in 1973 as her court docket case neared its conclusion.
Giacomo Puccini, the composer of “La Bohème,” “Turandot,” “Madama Butterfly” and different masterworks of opera, was recognized for his formidable libido, and chronicling his numerous affairs and doable progeny has been a preferred pastime for a sure section of opera followers. However Simonetta’s connection to the household got here by Puccini’s son, Antonio.
She introduced go well with to show that she was born of an affair between Antonio Puccini, who died in 1946, and her mom, whose title doesn’t floor within the numerous information accounts of the matter.
The Court docket of Cassation, Italy’s highest tribunal in civil issues, dominated in her favor, entitling her to take the title Puccini and giving her a share of the Puccini property.
That property had been huge, however, a half-century after the composer’s dying in 1924, it had been bled down and grow to be enmeshed in competing claims, which might proceed to be contested into this century.
As soon as it was determined that she was Puccini’s granddaughter and was granted the best to make use of the household title, Ms. Puccini, whereas persevering with to be entangled in authorized disputes over the property, turned her grandfather’s flame keeper. In 1979, she and a number of other others based the Institute for Puccini Research to advertise analysis about him and assist preserve his archive.
She additionally received management of the lakeside villa in Torre del Lago, in Tuscany, the place Puccini lived and composed a few of his operas. It had been in disrepair, and in 1996 she created Buddies of the Properties of Giacomo Puccini, a nonprofit group that raised cash to revive and preserve the villa and the museum there.
She additionally established the Simonetta Puccini Basis to advertise scholarship and different causes.
Ms. Puccini turned a kind of good-will ambassador for all issues Puccini, attending performances of his operas and exhibitions dedicated to him in Italy, the US and elsewhere.
She additionally edited two volumes of Puccini’s letters and, with William Weaver, edited “The Puccini Companion: Essays on Puccini’s Life and Music,” printed in 1994.
“The lack of Simonetta’s heat, particularly her deeply felt dedication to her grandfather’s life and music, might be deeply felt right here in Torre del Lago,” Mr. Handt stated by e mail from that city.
The conductor Alberto Veronesi, president of the muse that levels the annual Puccini competition in Torre del Lago, which has been going since 1930, stated in a video message for Ms. Puccini’s funeral final week: “She at all times supported us and guided the exercise of the muse. I intend to cherish what I discovered from her and to do my finest to maintain the nice work of her grandfather vibrant and alive.”
Ms. Puccini leaves no instant survivors.
Neither does Giacomo Puccini, as least formally, though claimants floor on occasion. In 2008, Paolo Benvenuti’s movie “Puccini e la Fanciulla” examined the likelihood that Puccini had a son from an affair and descendants by that line.
Some have sought to show their ancestry by having Puccini dug up for a DNA check, however up to now — partly due to Ms. Puccini’s opposition — his grave in a chapel contained in the villa at Torre del Lago has remained undisturbed.
Bernard Holland, on the time a music critic for The New York Instances, visited the villa at Torre del Lago in 2001. He had discovered a visit there 10 years earlier disappointing (it included a tour by “an inebriated caretaker and his canine,” he wrote), however by 2001 Ms. Puccini’s restoration efforts had taken maintain, and she or he and the museum left him favorably impressed.
“Fairly often amongst households,” Mr. Holland wrote, “a technology of nice productiveness is adopted by one which nose-dives into chaos. Then the character and high quality have a manner of reappearing. Whether or not this can be a operate of wealth and its debilitating influences or just of genes skipping a technology, Puccini’s troubled household tree is trying slightly greener.”