Music: Elvis Meets the Bacchae In Philadelphia, two new musicals - or are they really operas?

Anyone who has followed the course of recent contemporary music knows that musical theater is once again where the action is. Composers of all stripes are finding that the blend of playacting, poetry, stagecraft, dance and music can be as vital and communicative as it was 300 years ago in Renaissance Florence. The label for this art form -- originally opera, operetta, musical, even Broadway show latterly -- matters not. Nor does the increasingly arbitrary distinction between high art and pop culture: Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd, for example, have joined Gershwin's Porgy and Bess in the repertoires of...

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