Perhaps his most famous "showdown' however was during a rehearsal of Madama Butterfly in November of 1908 at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The stars of the evening were Geraldine Farrar and Enrico Caruso. The main cast members had been carefully groomed by Puccini himself for the American premier the previous year and they felt both comfortable and confident with their roles.During the rehearsal Miss Farrar didn't like Toscanini's tempo and began to impatiently stamp her foot on the floor as she sang to get him to comply with the tempo she wanted. Toscanini, not being one to take such insurrection against his authority lightly stopped the orchestra and glared at her. Farrar told the maestro that she didn't like the tempo and his job was to follow her, after all, she was a "star". Toscanini's reply? "Madam Farrar, the stars are in the heavens, you are a singer, and a very bad one". Needless to say a war broke out between them and it was only the skill of then general manager Gatti-Casazza that brought an uncomfortable truce between the two of them.
Toscanini and Farrar were both stars in their own right, and truly he was a divo and she was a diva in the greatest sense of the word. Who says all the divas are the rock stars of today!