Opera: Seattle's Soldat

Perhaps because Sir Thomas Beecham once called Seattle a "cultural dustbin," the town in the past few years has been resolutely shaking off the soot.

The Seattle Repertory Theater, formed in 1963, plays Molière and Tennessee Williams. The creditable Seattle Symphony plays to S.R.O. audiences in the city's five-year-old cultural center, and the Seattle Opera Association's fledgling company has packed the house for most of its three seasons, attracting such singers as James McCracken and Joan Sutherland to perform with its relatively unknown local talent.

For a production of Igor Stravinsky's Histoire du...

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