Music: How to Make an Opera

The tuxedoed and evening-gowned audience that filled little Jubilee Hall at Aldeburgh on Britain's windswept Suffolk coast last week was beginning to feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. They had just learned that they could not sit back and listen to the premiere of Benjamin Britten's sixth opera, Let's Make an Opera!; they had to take part.

The cast did its best to put them at ease. That technical word aria, it was explained, is "nothing to be afraid of—it simply means 'song' in Italian." Ensemble —"that's when everybody sings together." By the time the audience had been let in on a few secrets...

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