Music: The Parma Affair

The provincial city of Parma (pop. 89,300) harbors the toughest opera audience in Italy. Local legend has it that the great Enrico Caruso, singing L'Elisir d'Amore, was once all but booed from the stage in a performance that did not please Parma's exacting gallery. Next day a cabbie refused to take him to the station. The hack driver's reason: he did not want to dirty his carriage with such a bad singer.

Parma, birthplace of Toscanini, takes such a fierce pride in the standards of its Teatro Regio that at one time or another Parmensi...

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