Music: Ongaku by the Met

Ask any culturally hip American or European what ongaku means, and he will reply that it is the Japanese word for music. He will no doubt be thinking of the silken flutter of the 13-stringed koto or the modal mysteries of the pentatonic scale. Ask a Japanese, and he will tell you that ongaku means Beethoven, Mozart, Western-style symphony orchestras and, last week most of all, the Metropolitan Opera of New York.

Some 325 members strong, the Met flew to Japan for a three-week visit. The company brought along stars like Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Home,...

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