Music: Dialogues at the Met, Finally

One urgent need these days at the deficit-ridden Metropolitan Opera is to find ways to stage new productions as cheaply as possible, but still well. The company's mounting of Francis Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites was the best response yet to that challenge. Instead of the average cost of $200,000 to $300,000, not to mention the $800,000 lavished on Franco Zeffirelli's Otello in 1972, Dialogues came in at $75,000 —about $3,000 under budget. Stage Director John Dexter managed that feat by "cannibalizing" costumes and props from other Met productions—nuns' habits from Suor Angelica,...

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