Music: Tolstoy, Digested

Ever since the late Serge Prokofiev's War and Peace got its first concert performance in Moscow in 1944, the world's opera houses have hankered to stage it. For one reason or another, none ever got far. The opera's jumbo length (eleven scenes which would spread over two four-hour performances), its 40 individual roles and choruses of several hundred, all proved too discouraging. But last week the Italian city of Florence put on a digested, four-hour version as the high spot of its May music festival, and as a triumphant coup over Milan's lordly La Scala.

Chief credit for both the production and...

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