Opera: How to Hear Ahead

The reputation that preceded the Hamburg State Opera into Manhattan's Lincoln Center was formidable indeed. Hamburg's powerful productions of a varied, venturesome repertory made it, said one Lincoln Center official, "the most exciting opera company in the world." Last week the Hamburgers, the first foreign company invited to appear in the Metropolitan's new house, justified their advance billing by stylishly bringing off a daunting array of New York premieres: a vividly atmospheric Lulu, by Alban Berg; a vocally polished and forceful Mathis der Maler, by Paul Hindemith; and a flowing and...

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