Music: The King of Yvetot

Though he is not well-known in the U.S., Jacques Ibert (rhymes with he bear) is one of France's best composers. U.S. music lovers may have heard his iridescent orchestral piece Escales (Ports of Call), but few knew him as an opera composer. Last week some 2,500 Americans listened to an Ibert opera and saw the composer in person.

A month ago, looking as French as frogs' legs, the beret-bearing, 60-year-old composer arrived at Tanglewood, in Massachusetts' Berkshires, to be guest instructor in composition. Before he left Paris, he had received a cable from Tanglewood's Serge Koussevitzky: "We will perform your [opera] Le...

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