Music: The Toscanini Legacy

In his black high-collared rehearsal coat, Arturo Toscanini walked into NBC's Manhattan Studio 8-H and launched a Robert Shaw-trained chorus and a handful of soloists into the music he loved: Verdi's melodramatic, tearfully tender Aïda. With cajolery, threats and sarcasm ("Mr. Tucker," he inquired scathingly of Tenor Richard Tucker, "do you love a woman?"), he shaped a magnificently precise and passionate performance, presented to NBC televiewers and listeners in the spring of 1949. When RCA Victor decided to cut records from the broadcast tapes, Toscanini returned from retirement in 1954 to conduct...

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