The choice of Berlioz’s musical epic to celebrate the opening of the Metropolitan Opera’s one hundredth season was apt. The work has both grandeur and variety of scene, from the sack of a city to poetic love-making, and from religious celebration in monumental architecture to a quiet sunset on the African shore of the Mediterranean. Les Troyens, moreover, is one hundred twenty-five years old and thus sufficiently senior to the institution to greet its centenary with dignity, while being, culturally speaking, “of the same age.”

The undertaking had practical advantages besides: it was a revival of the American premiere of ten years ago (celebrating the Met’s ninetieth season), and the new production could benefit from experience and revisions. A marked improvement was that it now had as conductor James Levine instead of Rafael Kubelik, whose unsuitability was confirmed here in 1973 after his...


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