Music: ... To Forgive Divine

It sounded for a few raucous moments as if Mickey Mantle had popped up with the bases loaded. While the performer stood transfixed, boos, catcalls and whistles filled the warm night air. Occasion: an open-air performance of Aïda at Verona, during which Soprano Antonietta Stella committed the unpardonable sin of muffing a high C in the difficult third-act aria O patria mia.

For two acts Stella had been in fine voice: her famous Ritorna vincitor! aria had brought a thunderous ovation. But by the third act Stella's voice sounded shaky. When she came to her great third-act aria, her voice suddenly lapsed...

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