Music: Wanted: A Mandate

The office door, kept primly shut by the previous occupant, now stands wide open. At the windows the beige silk draperies are swept back to let in the sunlight for the first time in years. Visitors are no longer announced in hushed tones, but rather greeted with a jaunty wave from the man behind the desk, who then pulls up an armchair for an informal chat.

Such are the telltale signs that Schuyler Chapin has brought an energetic and affable new presence to the job of general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. A onetime...