Music: Fra Gherardo

At La Scala, in Milan, Arturo Toscanini conducted a new opera by Ildebrando Pizzetti. Its story, taken from a mediaeval monk's chronicle, was that of "a young Parman of low birth, layman, idiot, and fool," one Gherardhino Segarello, whose reckless career of devotion and debauchery caused him to be put in jail, led out only to amuse guests when the Bishop of Parma gave a banquet. Pizzetti had chosen to make a martyr of this squalid clown, to endow his dishonorable poverty with Franciscan splendor.

In Fra Gherardo, the poor Parman is a religious...