Music: The Fainting Maestro

The popeyed, bushy-haired little man had scarcely raised his baton to signal the opening of the piano concerto's slow movement when he paled and swayed on the podium. Soloist Vera Franceschi swiftly signaled the sound engineers to stop the recording. Then she helped Conductor Franco Ferrara to a chair, plied him with black coffee. Ten minutes later he rapped the Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome to silence, led them the rest of the way through a singing recording of Ildebrando Pizzetti's Canti della Stagione Alta.

The performance was an important step toward the recovery of an ailing man whom Arturo...

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