Music: Nowhere To Go but Up

The San Francisco Opera, with a new chief, aims to rise anew

The nation's No. 2 opera house hit rock bottom last Feb. 9. That afternoon the general director of the San Francisco Opera, Terence McEwen, announced his resignation because of ill health after a troubled six-year stint at the helm of the company. A few hours later, McEwen's predecessor, the autocratic Kurt Herbert Adler, died of a heart attack. The Viennese-born Adler had ruled the organization like a private satrapy for 28 years and had remained its irascible eminence grise. Suddenly the troupe was leaderless and, it seemed to many, artistically rudderless as well.

This month, as the 1988 season opens and...

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