Opera: The Schippers Festival

The Metropolitan Opera had two new productions ready to greet the opening of its 79th season last week—a lavish but disappointing Aïda and a modest Manon. Aïda succeeded in sharing some of the opening night glitter with its $50-a-seat audience, but it was plagued by the galloping vulgarity that now and then attacks the Met's production staff. Manon appeared with a blush three nights later and, despite troubles of its own, triumphed quietly.

With two suffering singers onstage—Birgit Nilsson was still in pain from a gallstone attack the night before, and Irene Dalis...

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