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The Boston Globe

Music

Opera Review

A belated Boston premiere for ‘Gatsby’

The theater world has an established tradition of developing new pieces over time through workshops and out-of-town tryouts, but the opera world has maintained, in certain quarters, a high-stakes tradition of what the composer John Harbison has called “the cold-bath opening night.”

Harbison’s vastly scaled third opera, “The Great Gatsby,” received one such cold bath in December of 1999, when it premiered on the not-so-out-of-town stage of the Metropolitan Opera. The response to that first production was decidedly mixed, and the opera has since limped its way to some temporary way station near the periphery of Harbison’s oeuvre, with the composer turning most of his attention to symphonic music in the intervening years.

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