Music: Houdini: The Riddle Remains

Old tricks upstage a new opera in Aspen

Opera: An exotic and irrational entertainment —Samuel Johnson

If only Dr. Johnson could have been in the Colorado Rockies last week. The Aspen Music Festival put on an exotic and deliberately irrational entertainment in which clowns, jugglers and acrobats capered across the stage. Flames shot up from nowhere. Flowers sprouted suddenly in a spittoon. A chorus stalked the aisles chanting a pitch for patent medicine. The hero was played by no less than three performers—a singer, a dancer and a magician. Before a note was...

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