The Metropolitan Opera has long been lucky in many ways, but it has never enjoyed much success with world premieres. Excepting two Puccini efforts (La Fanciulla del West and Il Tritico), a pair of Barber operas (Vanessa and the undervalued Antony and Cleopatra), and Levy’s Mourning Becomes Electra (which has only recently found favor), the Met has a dismal record in putting its considerable reputation behind new works. Does anyone remember Cyrano or The Canterbury Pilgrims or The Man Without a Country? And what about Madeleine, The Warrior, or The Robin Woman: Shanewis? The list goes on. Perhaps that’s why, until the present decade, the company stopped presenting new works after it relocated to Lincoln Center. But as this country’s leading opera house, the Met has doubtless felt pressure to serve as more than a repository of tried and true...


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