In news reports over the past year, the Metropolitan Opera has come across as an ailing patient, its costs and revenues spiraling in opposite directions. While many observers agree that the company’s financial model is unsustainable, at least in the long term, there’s far more disagreement about the quality of its performances. At the beginning of the 2014-15 season, which ends on Saturday, I resolved to take the Met’s artistic temperature by attending, as I never had before, all of the operas it presented — 26 this year — at least once each and often more. I tried to catch notable newcomers and cast changes, to move beyond the premieres and big stars to see how things are faring on those ordinary nights that are an opera house’s lifeblood.
So how’s the company’s health? Let’s go through it anatomically.
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