Johnson, Roger Books1994 0-7734-9364-6
This memoir records Elsa Resphighi's direct involvement with composers, performers, conductors, teachers, audiences, politicians, and patrons. The wife of Ottorino Respighi, she was professionally and socially close to such figures as Toscanini, Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Casals, Segovia, Rubinstein, Ravel, Caruso, D'Annunzio, Puccini, and Isadora Duncan. She went to school with Beniamino Gigli, saw Gustav Mahler collapse at the podium, and witnessed Toscanini's defiance of Mussolini's Black Shirts. Her superbly informed narrative establishes a cultural, historical context for the major musical styles of the early twentieth century. Performers, composers, students of twentieth-century music and history, and those in women's studies will find valuable information, and a story written with passion and commitment.