Opera: New Shape, New Song

The loyal fans of Soprano Renata Tebaldi had a hard time in recent years detecting the girlish silhouette of Mimi, say, or Leonora beneath their favorite's puffed-up form. Unlike her archrival Callas. who had the theatrical canniness to diet to a sleek whisper of her former self, Tebaldi apparently felt that it was sufficient for a soprano simply to trundle on stage and sing.

But last year, while in Japan, Tebaldi looked in the mirror and was appalled by what she saw. Her late mother was no longer at her side to tempt...

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