Music: The Gingerbread Opera

French music critics and a large segment of the Parisian public have a favorite seasonal pastime: griping about the Paris Opera. The huge gingerbread palace at the head of the Avenue de 1'Opera, which Composer Claude Debussy referred to as "a Turkish bath," and Choreographer Serge Lifar as "a glorious cemetery," has traditionally offered more for the eye than the ear. But the embarrassed French Ministry of Cultural Affairs is out to change all that. Last week the administrator's silk-paneled office was being prepared for a new tenant: Modernist Composer Georges Auric, 63. For the first time in 50 years, Paris...

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