Beginning Of the End

Here's a quick sports quiz: who won the 1990 soccer World Cup? Germany, of course. But just as easy for soccer fans is this one: Which tune did Luciano Pavarotti get everyone humming? The answer is Nessun Dorma, the big third-act aria of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot, which loudly reappears as the opera's finale. Yet Puccini didn't actually compose this ending — and he may not have wanted it.

Puccini died in 1924 before completing Turandot, and the score was finished by his student Franco Alfano in 1926. Even though Puccini had left notes for the final scenes, Alfano...

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