The most anticipated new production on the Metropolitan Opera calendar was that of Rigoletto. I say “anticipated.” What I mean is, it was the most looked forward to and the most dreaded. It was looked forward to by those who think of the Met as Squaresville. Who want the company to get with the program, and be more like Hamburg, Lille, and other cool capitals. It was dreaded by those who want to stave off Europeanization for as long as possible. Who like that the Met is the last bastion of “traditional” productions, as they’re called.

In my January chronicle, I spoke of the Met’s new production of another Verdi opera, Un ballo in maschera. I said I liked it—that I enjoyed looking at it—but that it was not really a...