Music: Three Oranges

The 28-year-old composer had come all the way from Russia to Chicago to conduct the premiere of his new opera. But sad news awaited him. The Chicago Opera Co., which had commissioned the work, just couldn't make it come off. It was a silly story—about a morose young prince who, under the spell of a witch, falls in love with three oranges. And both on the stage and in the pit, it seemed to be continually poking grand opera in the ribs.

Its young composer, a bespectacled string-bean of a man named Sergei Prokofiev, made some revisions and the Chicago company decided...

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