Music: The Phantom of the Opera

For the first time in 59 years, Manhattan's Metropolitan Opera took the public completely into its confidence last week to confess the real state of its financial health. It was bad.

Last season the leading U.S. opera company wound up with a $214,000 deficit. Opera-wise people knew that the Met had suffered a disappointing season. Many had guessed an operating loss of $50,000 to $102,000. But the published figure was big enough to pose once again the question of opera's survival in a streamlined age.

Opera is fantastically expensive to mount. Like a department store,...

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