Music: Flat Flute

The Metropolitan Opera's new production of The Magic Flute was made possible (as the program duly notes) by a grant from Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr. She did not get her money's worth.

Most disappointing were the new sets and staging. The Flute's libretto, with its pseudo-Masonic mumbo jumbo and up to 16 bewildering scene changes, has always been a terror to stage craftsmen, but it also offers charm, humor, pageantry and plenty of cues for imagination, and these the Met missed. Scenic backgrounds were ingeniously provided by special 5,000-watt projectors, but most of...