Music: Gatta-Dammerung

Baring his heart, the tenor sang, "Laga baba lagaga banuna." Moved, the soprano tenderly replied, "O gaga o gaga." Her expression of love reduced the tenor to turtledove coos: "Oc curru curru curru curru curru."

This exchange, accompanied by a long-winded, brassy orchestra with lots of percussion and no fiddles, was sung last week on a Berlin stage. Abstract Opera No. 1 was the work of two leading German composer-librettists, Boris Blacher. (Romeo and Juliet, Prussian Fairytale) and Werner Egk (Columbus, Irish Legend). The work was produced with deadpan literalness and conducted by...

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