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Rossini once received a curious letter before a performance of one of his operas at La Scala in Milan:

"A lady who wishes to make the acquaintance of the great Maestro will be at La Scala tonight in Box No. 9 to tell you something she cannot put into writing." Meanwhile, the company's leading tenor announced that the beautiful wife of the French ambassador had arrived in town to see the opera and would occupy Box No. 9. As the overture began Rossini, greatly excited and dressed to the nines, arrived in Box No. 9 -- and was dismayed to find it empty. as the lights came on after the first act, Rossini noticed an envelope on the empty chair beside him. Eagerly he opened it and read:

"My dear Maestro. The ambassadress of France regrets that she cannot come to the theater tonight for one important reason: she is dead -- and well decayed. The French ambassador has been a widower for three years. Please accept, Maestro, the compliments of your admirer, 'Primo Aprile.'"

["The first of April!" he angrily exclaimed. "Why don't I ever look at the calendar?"]

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