In the third act of Umberto Giordano’s opera Fedora, when the young Countess Olga and the French diplomat de Siriex are catching up on the gossip, he asks her what has happened to her Polish protégé and lover, the piano virtuoso Boleslao Lazinski, the nephew of Chopin, who had entertained the party guests in Paris in the second act of the opera. She replies that he was ‘a darling’, ‘a sweetie’, or ‘a bit cute’ (era carino), and de Siriex, Fedora and Olga launch into a sequence of insults to describe the Polish musician, with Olga trying not very hard to defend her former lover: ‘a veritable archangel’ suggests de Siriex, ‘a bit too blonde’, offers Fedora. Olga recalls that he was ‘as delicate as a woman’, de Siriex counters with ‘a mimosa’.

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