“Composer Giacomo Puccini and conductor Arturo Toscanini were friends who sometimes feuded. One Christmas, Puccini sent Toscanini a traditional holiday gift — an Italian sweet bread called a panettone. Then Puccini remembered that he and Toscanini were on bad terms, and he followed up with a telegram reading: PANETTONE SENT BY MISTAKE. PUCCINI. He got a telegram back: PANETTONE EATEN BY MISTAKE. TOSCANINI.”
Walt Disney himself related the story of a chance meeting with Leopold Stokowski at Chasen’s. They agreed to have dinner together. As they talked, Disney told of his plans to do “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and other possible projects using classical music with animation. Disney said that he was stunned when Stokowski, then one of the two most famous conductors in the country (the other being Arturo Toscanini), responded by saying, “I would like to conduct that for you.” It was an offer he couldn’t pass up.
Famed conductor, Arturo Toscanini, conducting an Italian military band during World War I. As the battle heated up, he moved the band closer and closer to the fight. He wanted the Italian troops to hear the music and boost their courage.
I love Toscanini quotes. A few favorites:
“Wagner was right. Verdi was right. They were both right!”
Known as a slave to the printed score and authenticity, Toscanini was once asked why he re-orchestrated a few passages of a Schumann symphony. His reply: “If it makes the score sound, is good!”
About Richard Strauss, who Toscanini believed had cooperated with the Nazis: “To Strauss, the composer, I take off my hat. To Strauss, the man, I put my hat back on.”
Playbill for the world premiere of Turandot La Scala, Milan, 25 April 1926 Milan: Montorfano & Valcarenghi, 1926 101.6 x 73.7 cm James Fuld Collection
Puccini began work on Turandot in 1920 and had completed all but the final duet between Calaf and the princess when he left for Brussels early in November 1924 for radium treatments for throat cancer. Though he brought his sketches for the final scene with him, he died of cardiac arrest on the 29th, leaving the work unfinished. Using Puccini’s sketches, composer Franco Alfano devised an ending in time for the premiere. Toscanini, however, who was conducting, put down his baton where Puccini’s music ended, saying, “Here the opera ends because at this point the Maestro died." themorgan.org