The status of City Opera as New York’s “second” opera company does not necessarily imply that the “first” opera house, the Metropolitan, is performing impeccably, or indeed is giving the most responsible account of the full operatic repertory, from baroque to contemporary. The Met, like Homer, can and does nod.

The opening weeks of the fall season of eight productions at the “new” New York City Opera represent the first productions presented under the leadership of general and artistic director Paul Kellogg, appointed in January 1996 to succeed the late Christopher Keene. Mr. Kellogg was the founder and nurturer of the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, New York, since 1979, a unique experimental summer opera festival that has featured both new and traditional works. One naturally hopes that Mr. Kellogg’s arrival will bring new life to an opera company that, since its founding in the mid...

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