Opera: To Save a Mockingbird

There is something faintly absurd about most operatic revivals. However lovingly a long-forgotten work may be recreated, to contemporary audiences the result usually seems more redolent of old mothballs than Old Master. Yet the brightest hits of the current music season in West Germany are two small relics of 100 years' neglect that have been resurrected by the sophisticated, experimental Hessische Landestheater in industrial Darmstadt. Germany's new discovery: Jacques Offenbach.

Feline Charm. Even in his own day, Offenbach was hardly avantgarde. But to Landestheater Director Gerhard Hering, the offbeat choice of...

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