Music: Music Man for the Met

The Metropolitan Opera is first and foremost a singers' house, or what the managers on 57th Street like to call a bella voce theater. Its basic operating premise is that what counts is glorious singing. The only trouble is that no amount of fine vocalizing will make an opera like Otello or Wozzeck work without a steady, compelling baton on the podium. Yet it is difficult to get, let alone keep, good conductors in a house where singing stars have virtual veto power over their maestros. As a result, good conducting has been almost...

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