When, 216 years ago, someone mysteriously blacked out pages from the French opera Médée with charcoal, the music was lost to history. Now, scientists at Stanford's National Accelerator Laboratory have brought those long-lost notes back to life.
Maria Luigi Carlo Zenobio Salvatore Cherubini was born in Florence, Italy in 1760. He befriended Beethoven in Vienna and died in Paris in 1842.
Cherubini was a renowned composer, but -- according to legend -- critics thought his opera "Médée," based on the Greek tale of vengeance, dragged on a bit.
Maybe that's why Cherubini, or someone else, used charcoal to smudge out a page and a half of the score.
Two hundred and sixteen years later, scientists at Stanford used X-rays to detect iron in the ink Cherubini had used.