Music: Opera Boom

The U.S. is in the midst of a major opera boom. Last season, 444 groups— in 45 states gave some 2,400 operatic performances. Two-thirds of them were standard repertory, from the Marriage of Figaro to Madame Butterfly. The rest were contemporary. In the last two seasons, 115 different contemporary operas were performed, 91 of them by Americans.

More than half of the performing groups are college workshops, high schools and conservatories. Knowing that he will probably get his hearing in such a setting, and not at the conservative, perennially strapped Metropolitan, the U.S. opera...

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