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A Rare Event at the Met

In response to:

Under an Avenger's Spell at the Met from the December 6, 2012 issue

To the Editors:

Geoffrey O’Brien’s question in relation to Thomas Adès’s opera The Tempest at the Met [NYR, December 6] is easily answered. “When was the last time the Met presented a contemporary opera with the composer conducting?” Not so long ago: in February 2011, when John Adams led the overdue company premiere of Nixon in China (Houston, 1987). Before that, Tan Dun conducted the December 2006 world premiere of his The First Emperor. But O’Brien’s point as to the rarity of such occasions remains valid: before this contemporary trio, the last composer to lead his own opera at the Metropolitan was Italo Montemezzi (1875–1952), who helmed his L’amore dei tre re (once thought a modernist triumph equal to Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande) at the old opera house in February 1941, twenty-eight years after the work’s creation in Milan.

David Shengold
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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