It was bound to happen. The combination of the two hundredth anniversary of Mozart’s death and the réclame that greeted the avant-garde stage director Peter Sellars’s productions of the master’s operas a few years ago at the Pepsico Summerfare Festival must have supplied the Public Broadcasting Service with a marriage made in media heaven. The result was the broadcasting of three of the greatest Mozart operas on PBS this past winter in Sellars’s outré (to say the least) versions.

At this point there is little to be said about the current Mozart celebrations. Lincoln Center is doing all—every note—of Mozart’s music; the Philips record label is bringing out a similarly complete edition on compact disc. As might be imagined, the musicological community has fully mobilized itself, and a spate of Mozart books, describing in great detail every...

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