Radio: Magic on the Air Waves

Opera is hard enough to produce in the opera house, where the conductor is only 20-odd feet from his cast. On TV it is twice as hard: the conductor is in another room. This week the NBC Opera Theatre televised its 38th opera production, Mozart's masterpiece, The Magic Flute, two hours of soaring music and symbolic drama, beautifully sung and bewitchingly visualized in color.

On the podium offscreen was Musical Director Peter Herman Adler, wearing a particularly abstracted look because the music of his orchestra impinged directly on one ear, while the singing of...

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