Music: Shocker in Rome

The Rome Opera House puts great stress on some kinds of decorum: the doorman turned famed Composer Igor Stravinsky away one night last week because he was not in formal dress. But Romans have no rules against hoots and whistles during a performance that fails to please them. Boulevard Solitude, a muchdiscussed, three-year-old opera by a 27-year-old German named Hans Werner Henze, went against the grain that night and drew a record outburst.

Henze's plot takes the old story of Manon Lescaut forward to the Paris of 1950 and turns its willful heroine into...

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