This year’s aerogram is dedicated to Italian composer, Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), who was born 150 years ago in Livorno. Mascagni’s fame is tied especially to his “Cavalleria Rusticana” (Rustic Cavalry), which he composed at the age of 27 and which won top prize in a competition held in 1890 by the Sonzogno publishing house. The opera was first performed at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome and was hugely successful, receiving praise from all. Shortly afterwards, the lyric comedy “L’Amico Fritz” (Friend Fritz) came out, followed by other minor works. His great acclaim came during his years as a theatre director in Europe and the United States. The strong realism of his melodramas marked a new creation and an important change in the lyric works of the 1800s, so much so that Mascagni is considered by many as the first proponent of musical realism. In 1940, the 50th year of opera to which his name is more closely tied, he remembered in this way the days leading up to the first performance of “Cavalleria Rusticana” at the Teatro Costanzi: “my astonishment reached its climax when I heard the complex interpretation of my music performed in such a marvelous way with all its particulars”. Pietro Mascagni died in Rome on 2 August 1945, and is buried at the Misericordia cemetery in Livorno.