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Arturo Toscanini, charisma, rigor and perfectionism
“Everyone knew that I knew the works by heart: when we passed the parts I accompanied them to the piano without looking at the score. I didn't want to come out, but a chorister, a certain Signora Leoni di Parma, ugly as the devil, begged me to go. They wanted me to wear a tailcoat - I said no, no .. "
This is how Arturo Toscanini himself remembered the circumstances of his debut on the podium on 30 June 1886 in Rio de Janeiro in Verdi's Aida.

Born in Parma on 25 March 1867, Toscanini, who graduated in cello and composition in 1886 from the Royal School of Music of Parma (now the Conservatory) with top marks and honours, also obtaining the Barbacini prize of 137.50 lire , had been hired as principal cellist and substitute choirmaster by an opera company that was leaving for Brazil in the spring of the following year.

Once in Sao Paulo, the local director, not particularly liked by the Italian orchestral players and openly contested, after an unfortunate performance of Donizetti's Favorita and the disastrous performances of Gounod's Faust and Aida in Rio de Janeiro, where the company had moved, was forced to resign and his replacement did not have better luck.

It was then that the musicians, who had appreciated the talents of the young maestro during the journey when he accompanied them on the piano to revise the parts, almost dragged Toscanini onto the podium who, dressed as an orchestra member, made his debut by conducting from memory.

Although he did not have the mechanics of the gesture, as he himself recalled, it was a triumph that marked the beginning of the career of a conducting legend who would debut in Italy, in Turin on 4 November of the same year, conducting the Edmea by Alfredo Catalani.

There is more

Toscanini's career continued to grow, and he became music director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, establishing his name through radio and television broadcasts, as well as numerous recordings of operatic and symphonic repertoire. His ability to recall works by heart and capture subtle orchestral details made him an admired and respected maestro on a global scale, considered one of the greatest conductors of his century.

Other information

Toscanini was born in Parma, in the Oltretorrente district, on 25 March 1867, son of the tailor and Garibaldian Claudio Toscanini, originally from Cortemaggiore (in the province of Piacenza), and of the Parma seamstress Paola Montani; his father was a great fan of opera arias, which he sang at home with friends after having learned them at the Teatro Regio
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Author: Uber Bertiè

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