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Pietro Mascagni began composing sacred music, but learned of a contest for one-act Operas. In only two months he composed Cavalleria Rustican, after a popular story and play. It was a sensation, and within a year was performed all over the world, even conducted in Vienna by no less than Gustav Mahler. Mascagni was only 27 years old.
He went on to a very long and very successful career, but somehow never quite repeated the astonishing success of this work. As a result, we often don't think of him when we think of Italian music, and many have mistaken this for one of the three Italian Operatic greats. But as Churchill himself once said, there is more in Heaven and Earth than is dreamed of in your philosophy, Horatio.
The pictures here are from Mascagni's native Livorno, on the Mediterranean south of Genoa. It looks like it's worth a journey - or at least a detour), and not just to pay homage to the great Mascagni's tomb.