Tom Huizenga

"They killed my mother in the doorway." How's that for an opening line?

We're talking opera — specifically, the aria "La mamma morta" from Umberto Giordano's 1896 French Revolution thriller Andrea Chénier. The soprano is Anna Netrebko.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, captured around 17

Gustav Mahler, in his younger days, was a vegetarian. There's a story, recounted by one of his biographers, about how the composer was teased by fellow musicians in a restaurant when he refused meat, instead asking for spinach and apples.

Mahler might have caught on to this way of eating from reading an essay by none other than classical music's most nortorious veggie-head, Richard Wagner.

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