Music: Playing Rigoletto Up Front

Thrilling to hear, but not much to watch

This is the Metropolitan Opera's second season under the joint leadership of Music Director James Levine, 34, and Director of Production John Dexter, 52. They are men of skill and self-assurance, and when they succeed, as they did last winter with Berg's Lulu, they justify the Met's often advertised suggestion that to buy one of its tickets is to "strike a blow for civilization." When Levine and Dexter miss, they raise worries about the wisdom of dual artistic control. Last week's new production of Verdi's Rigoletto...

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