Opera: Wanted: Real Pasta

"Italian opera," snorts one Milanese buff, "is going to the dogs because so many dogs are singing it today." Symptomatic of the problem was La Scala's season-ending production last week of a 147-year-old opera called Olympie, by Gasparo Spontini. It flopped, mainly because it lacked a singer of superstar rank. In the past, the company could dredge up any old potboiler, cast Callas or Tebaldi in the lead, and have a resounding success. But now Callas and Tebaldi are little more than memories in Italy. Along with the younger corps of fine singers, they have been lured away by...

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