New York received the great composer like a god; he responded con brio to its shiny gadgets and beautiful women and produced an “American” opera.
On a cold December day in 1906, the tiny Italian village of Torre del Lago was filled with excitement. Virtually the entire population—120 men, women, and children—milled about its little railroad station to bid farewell to its most eminent citizen, leaving that day for New York. One neighbor, with a kind heart but an abysmal ignorance of geography, had brought along a sausage for delivery to an uncle in Argentina. Others had brought armfuls of flowers, and some had composed sentimental little poems especially for the occasion.