On Monday night, Feb. 5, Jamie Colby heads to Hastings-on-Hudson, to meet Marlene Piturro, an opera lover who inherited a musical treasure from her percussionist husband.
In the mid-1970s, Marlene’s husband, Howard Van Hyning, takes a summer assignment performing in the opera “Turandot.” Despite Howard’s vast collection of percussion instruments, he does not have precisely the right gongs to perform “Turandot.” He gets a tip that the Italian composer, Giacomo Puccini’s custom-made gongs – the very ones he had specially crafted for Turandot – are sitting in a small costume shop in the New York City borough of Queens. Howard rents them and eventually convinces the costume owner to sell him the gongs for $8,000.
Howard plays the Puccini gongs in operas all over the country. Then in 2001, an MRI confirms that Howard is in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. Howard continues to play until he dies in 2010.
Howard not only leaves Marlene his fondest musical treasure, he also asks her to rewrite history. To understand her assignment, you have to go back to 1924, when Puccini died, before he could finish composing his masterpiece, “Turandot.” Another composer, Franco Alfano, was commissioned to complete the opera. Alfano’s ending never appealed to Howard because it did not feature the gongs. His dying wish was for Marlene to sell Puccini’s gongs and commission a new ending for “Turandot” that does justice to the gongs.
Can she make it come true?
Find out on Monday night's debut of "Strange Inheritances," on Fox Business Network starting at 9:30 p.m.
For more details on the show click here:
Additional information on the Hastings debut can be found online by clicking here.
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