Music: Santa on Broadway

A week before Christmas, the New York Herald Tribune's Virgil Thomson composed an open letter to Santa Claus (alias Billy Rose). All that Composer-Critic Thomson wanted in 1949 (from the hands of Producer Rose): "A really modern [medium-sized] operatic repertory theater ... a quality operation." As for grand opera, said Thomson: "Leave all those outsize 19th Century works" to the Metropolitan, "till they and the Met collapse together . . ."

Last week, Thomson—and many another opera fan—had what he asked for: modern, medium-sized opera. On Broadway, where Gian-Carlo Menotti's terrifying but tuneful The Medium (TIME, June 30, 1947) was holding spooky...

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