At the time of his death in 1957, Arturo Toscanini was a few weeks short of 90 years old, and probably the single best known and most celebrated orchestral conductor in the world. He was a remarkable musical talent, possessed of a photographic memory and an extremely sensitive ear – both of which drove a level of perfectionism and intensity that was exceptional, even for a conductor.
After his emigration to the United States in the 1930s, Toscanini frequently made appearances as a conductor of orchestral works on television and radio – the stereotypical conductor character in many films, cartoons and so on made between 1940 and 1970 is usually based on him, so completely was he associated with the role. Toscanini also conducted the world premieres of such operas as Pagliacci, La bohème, La fanciulla del West and Turandot.
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