ISSUE DATE: Jan. 25, 1926
ALSO APPEARED: Apr. 2, 1934; Apr. 26, 1948
It was during a performance of Aida, the regular conductor was taken ill and young Toscanini, cellist, called upon to replace him, won there his first honors in conducting. He went back to Italy, conducted first one orchestra, then another, was at La Scala for ten years until 1908 when he came to the Metropolitan Opera House, Manhattan. He was no Italian, at home with music of his own people, floundering through scores by Frenchmen and Germans. He was internationally great executive, wanted no conductor to be impresario too. Domineering, dynamic Toscanni went back to La Scala where now, as “artistic director” he rules supreme. “Devil” some call him. But his men adore him, tell many tales of his gentleness, his generosity. He conducted an orchestra in Turin not long ago. A second violinist made a false note in Beethoven’s Ninth and Toscanini, enraged, struck the violin, smashed it, drove a splinter into the eye of the offender. Suit was brought and a genial judge forgave “the great master” because he had been righteously incensed.
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