A marvelous friend once related to Opera Chic a great Karajan anecdote: once, a clueless acquaintance had had the bra$$ ball$ to point out to Karajan how his choice of tempi for Cavalleria Rusticana had been a bit -- surprisingly -- on the slow side.
With all the sneering contempt the great maestro was capable of (ie, an awful lot), he explained like you would do to a developmentally challenged three year old that he had followed Mascagni's own tempi.
Because, thank goodness, some performances conducted by Mascagni remain to this day: our good friends at mascagni.org, an indispensable, repeat, indispensable online resource for anyone interested in the great underrated composer, point us to a series of delicious little things.
Mascagni conducts Cavalleria, on CD
Mascagni conducts L'Amico Fritz, that underrated masterpiece of subtlelty.
Little gift to our San Francisco readers: mp3 page of Un Pensiero a San Francisco, from 1903, with scores: it's a little piece, a thank-you note written by the Maestro himself to thank the city for a warm welcome (testament, also, to that great city's historically great taste in music).
And, to quote the Maestro's own words on his conducting his works, here's a rare speech from 1938: "The Most Direct Possible Interpretation Of My Opera", mp3 and transcript and photos.