Something New For the Met

The Ghosts of Versailles, a world premiere, makes for a lively show

The Metropolitan Opera, goes the old line, is New York City's second Met museum. It's an acrid joke, deriding the opera house's conservative repertory, its emphasis on Verdi, Puccini and Wagner standards. Where, the critics ask, is innovation? What about experiment? But the hard truth is that new works don't sell, and the Met, with one of the most ambitious schedules in the world, must try to fill 4,000 seats at 210 performances a season. And for the most part, its forays into premieres have been failures. Met veterans still wince at the memory of the disastrous premiere of Samuel Barber's...

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