Opera: Thundering Silence at the Met

Deep shadows had fallen where angels and sponsors used to tread. The Metropolitan Opera's 1,100 doors were shut tight. The stage lights (total power: 6,000,000 watts) peered purblindly down on bare boards. In the pit a dirty dust rag lay limply on the conductor's stand, in place of a score.

The source of the gloom was not new. In the past eight years, labor disputes have four times brought the Met to the brink of disaster. In 1961 its opening was ensured at the last moment deus ex machina (when President Kennedy intervened)....

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