Music: Big Columbus Mystery

In fourteen hundred ninety-two, as any schoolboy knows, Columbus sailed the ocean blue to discover a passage to India. But that is not the way the story goes in Christophe Colomb, the 25-year-old opera by Darius Milhaud, with a text by French Poet Paul Claudel. In Rome last week, the gigantic work got a full stage performance for the first time since its 1930 Berlin premiere (it has had concert performances in Manhattan and Paris, abridged productions in Cologne and Buenos Aires). Unfortunately, Rome's critical opera audience was neither wholly delighted musically nor enlightened historically.

Untroubled by any theory that the earth...

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