The Atlantic

The Jewish Opera Italy Couldn’t Bear to Hear

It was canceled 80 years ago due to anti-Semitic laws. Now, it’s finally going mainstream—but so is the fascist ideology that blocked it in the first place.
Source: Alessandro Garofalo / Reuters

In 1937, Aldo Finzi received word that his dream would come true: His newly composed opera, “Serenata al Vento,” would premiere the following year at Milan’s La Scala, one of the world’s most renowned opera houses. A successful 40-year-old composer, he’d already had his music performed in some of Italy’s most prestigious theaters, but never at La Scala. That had a special significance for him, as he was a proud Milanese, born and raised in the city. But Finzi was also Jewish. In 1938, Italy passed the “racial laws” that barred, among other things, the performance of plays and music composed by Jews. And so his opera was canceled at

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