Music: Sour Notes

Hard nights at the opera

Actors have been known to go onstage with flu, fever, broken limbs. But they do not have to sing. When an opera star's voice goes, he might just aswell leave the stage. And that is precisely what two tenors did this month at two of the world's most prestigious companies, the Vienna State Opera and New York's Metropolitan, causing consternation on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Vienna, almost everyone who counted in music and the government had shown up for American Conductor Lorin Maazel's long-awaited first performance after...

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