Music: Puccini's Last

Twenty-four years ago, when Arturo Toscanini conducted the world premiere of Giacomo Puccini's unfinished opera, Turandot, he abruptly stopped the show in the middle of the third act—at the point Puccini had reached when he died. In what was to Toscanini a perfectly adequate explanation, he turned to the audience in Milan's La Scala and announced simply, "Here Puccini ended his opera." He refused to go a note farther on that occasion, even though he admitted that Puccini's fellow composer Franco Alfano had done a good job of completing the score. Conductors since have not been so finicky; but even so,...

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