Music: Sir John & the Maestro

Giuseppe Verdi composed his most fettlesome opera, Falstaff, when he was nearing 80. Last week, white-fringed little Arturo Toscanini, who learned how to play some of Verdi's operas from the famed composer himself some 60 years ago, proved he still had the pep at 83 to conduct a fettlesome performance of Falstaff.

He had given his opera of the year his usual patient and pernickety preparation, drilling his singers until they were ready to drop, illustrating passages by pushing his,hoarse old voice up into squeaky soprano register and down into roaring baritone range...

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