Music: Mascagni's Visit

Many, many years ago an opera called Cavalleria Rusticana was composed. It proved, as a vaudevillian would say, an immediate wow. Its Intermezzo, written as a time-filler to cover the distribution and consumption of oranges between the acts, has been scored for every known combination of instruments, including flute and banjo, hand-organ, and the voice of John McCormack.

The young man in the checked Victorian suit who composed Cavalleria followed it up with many others. Practically every one of these was a comparative flop, Pietro Mascagni remains a one-opera man (which, after all, is better than a no-opera man, particularly if the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!