Music: Not So Bad for England

Not So Bad for England "If you can't sing at Covent Garden," rumbled a British opera star, "you damn well can't sing anywhere." The stage floor of London's Royal Opera House sags and some of its scenery dates back to 1908, but the theater's acoustics are still near perfect. This week, slightly faded but resonant, Covent Garden celebrates its 100th birthday in a gala performance for the Queen. The generous birthday package includes extracts from The Bohemian Girl, The Trojans, Peter Grimes, Aida, I Puritani (Maria Callas singing), plus the Royal Ballet's Birthday Offering.

For Britons, Covent Garden shimmers with memories of...