Diva in a Verismo Rarity, Chewing Imaginary Scenery

farrar_small.jpgBy BERNARD HOLLAND [NY Times, 14 November 2005]
“Zaz‡” is a lesser known but not a lesser Leoncavallo opera. Toscanini conducted the premiere in 1900, but the piece did not arrive in New York until 1920. The soprano Geraldine Farrar quickly commandeered the title role. The Metropolitan Opera gave it some 20 performances in the next three seasons; and when Farrar said goodbye to the part in 1922, “Zaz‡” left New York with her.