Music: And Now, Concrete Ballet

While Romeo and Juliet made shy love in the corner, a file of bare-chested men in pajama pants and motorcycling helmets marched on the stage to the martial roll of drums. Guns began to chatter, and Romeo toppled, a bullet in his heart. Orpheus appeared in slacks and V-necked shirt, turned to the audience with a bewildered cry: "Why? Why? Why?"

Few were prepared to answer him, but the audience nevertheless applauded like a bullfight crowd. Occasion: performance in Paris' Théâtre des Champs Elysées of Orpheus, a ballet set to music by avant-garde...