Music: Sugar and Spice at the Center

The Met's Billy Budd; City Opera's The Turk in Italy

As befits a 94-year-old dowager, New York City's Metropolitan Opera has a taste for velvet and Verdi. That makes its first premiere this season a surprise: Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd, a brooding sea tale seldom produced since its Covent Garden debut in 1951. Meanwhile, as if it had planned its major fall production for contrapuntal effect, the New York City Opera—a 34-year-old, often saucy upstart just across the way at Lincoln Center—reached back to Rossini for a high note. The Rossini opera, to be...

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