Conductors: The Next Toscanini?

Seldom has old Salzburg witnessed such an ovation. After the festival's opening concert last week, a capacity audience of 2,200 stamped, clapped and bravoed in a demonstration that verged on Beatlemania. One of the few in the hall who seemed unmoved by all the fuss was the man on the podium, hot-eyed, shock-haired Zubin Mehta, 28, the onetime boy wonder from Bombay who, in four years of conducting from Moscow to Montreal, has enjoyed one of the most spectacular ascents to fame in many a decade.

The peak of Mehta's career to date was his selection as lead-off conductor at Salzburg,...

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