Educated in law at the University of Turin, Giacosa received his degree in 1868 and practised law for a while with his father before turning to a writing career. Although he wrote some poetry, his true calling was as a playwright. His first success came with A Game of Chess (Una portita a scacchi) in 1873. He moved to Milan in 1888 and became the director of the School of Acting and a professor of dramatic literature and acting at the Conservatoire. After a number of successful plays, he worked on the libretto for Puccini's opera Manon Lescault in 1891. He then collaborated with Luigi Illica on La Boheme (1896), Tosca (1900) and Madame Butterfly (1904). Other works include Unhappy Love in Poet Lore (1888), La Dame de Challant (1891), As the Leaves Fall (1900) and The Stronger (1904).
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A Game of Chess [Play]
The Rights of the Soul [Play]
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