Music: Bombs in Venice

As many a composer has learned, the flash point of Italian opera fans is notoriously low. But last week an audience in Venice's elegant little Teatro La Fenice erupted in an explosion rare even for Italy. No sooner did the violent, harshly dissonant music begin than it was interrupted by boos, catcalls, whistles and a shower of stink bombs. "Why don't you play the cha cha cha?" shrieked the right-wingers in the balcony. "Dirty Fascists!" "Cretins!" roared back supporters in the orchestra.

What touched the riot off was a bitter social protest titled Intolerance 1960, the first operatic effort of Luigi...

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