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07 Aug 2005

Barber's Vanessa in Central City

World premieres during Rudolf Bing's 22-year reign at the Metropolitan Opera can be counted on the fingers of one hand, so it is a sign of Samuel Barber's prestige in the 1950s and 1960s that his two main operas are part of the tally.

Anthony and Cleopatra was a notorious flop, thanks mainly to Franco Zeffirelli's overblown production, but what of the earlier Vanessa, an intimate piece set in a Chekhovian household in northern Europe?

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