Music: Looking for a Lost Generation

The Met stages Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini

One of the quirks of 20th century music is that Italian opera should have gone into such decline. Italy, after all, gave birth to bel canto, and is the homeland of Rossini, Bellini and Verdi. Yet the effervescent melodic line that began with Monteverdi during the Renaissance exhausted itself with the death of Giacomo Puccini in 1924, and has been only fitfully revived by such contemporary figures as the late Luigi Dallapiccola. There is, it seems, a lost generation of Italian opera composers. But what happened to...

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