Music: The Shylock Jinx

The Italian composer Giro Pinsuti experimented with the theme in his Mer-cante di Venezia in 1873. After that there was Deffès' Jessica (1898), Foerster's Jessika (1905), Alpaerts' Shylock (1913), and Hahn's Le Marchand de Venise (1935). The various operatic treatments of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice have one quality in common: they have all but disappeared from the stage. Last week yet another Merchant had arrived—with a good chance of beating the old jinx. The composer: Italy's Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

Composer Castelnuovo-Tedesco, 66, one of the most prolific and successful of Italy's traditionalist composers, wrote...

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