Music: When the Style Is No Style

In Santa Fe, eclecticism marks two new operas

Throughout musical history, a single compositional style has generally dominated its era. In the fractious late 20th century, however, composers freely draw on myriad influences to create highly personalized idioms. Eclecticism, once a term of opprobrium, has become a virtue, perhaps even a style in itself, as the boundaries of serious music steadily expand.

At the Santa Fe Opera last week, two important premieres demonstrated just how potent eclecticism can be. John Eaton's The Tempest, with a libretto after Shakespeare by Music Critic Andrew Porter of The New Yorker, is a rich blend of Renaissance music, jazz and electronics that is...

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