Opera: How to Run a Festival

To many of America's major music makers, festivals are the time for summer reruns. Most of this year's programming, at such places as Tanglewood, Saratoga and Ravinia, bears out the thesis: safe, familiar fare for the listener who prefers to leave his brains at home. It took the usually hidebound Metropolitan Opera to break the mold and demonstrate that a festival can also include the thinking man as well.

Last week the Met concluded a ten-day Verdi stand in Newport, R.I., that combined familiar pieces with a smorgasbord of the unfamiliar representing musicological...

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