Music: Really Quite All Right

It took a national military defeat and four years of German rule to make the Dutch take grand opera and like it. It was not that Holland had plugged its dikes against all music: it has long had fine Bach societies and a great symphony orchestra, the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam. But to the restrained Dutch, opera had long seemed worldly and overemotional.

One of the few things the Dutch learned to like about the Germans was their zeal for opera. The Germans started a Dutch opera with native singers and musicians and the Dutch...

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