Tenor revives an old opera tradition

From the Associated Press

Toscanini forbade it. La Scala’s management discouraged it. But the “encore” calls from the balconies proved too much for Juan Diego Florez to resist.

The Peruvian tenor repeated his first-act aria “Ah, mes amis” in a revival of Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” in Milan, Italy, this week -- the first encore of an aria at La Scala since Russian Fedor Chaliapin flouted the tradition in a 1933 production of “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.”

Toscanini forbade encores in 1921 in the belief that repeating a piece of music broke the pace of the operatic drama and that the focus of an opera was the music, not the singers, said opera critic Elvio Giudici.