When I got home, I wanted to write, Gene Shalit style, “This Flute’s a hoot! Run, don’t walk!” But there was no point in telling anyone to go anywhere; only a few three-hundred-dollar tickets remained, and these were quickly sold. (There will be five more performances in April; tickets go on sale November 21st.) Whenever the Met stumbles onto something truly wonderful, such as this “Magic Flute,” or “Salome” last season, those in the know snatch up all the tickets before those in the dark can get a taste of what opera can achieve. Such is the enigma of classical music; the better it is, the more inaccessible, until, in its most rarefied form, it hardly exists. Perhaps Mozart took joy in the triumph of “The Magic Flute” because it showed him a way out of that gleaming prison: he could see a real public at last. Then he wrote his Requiem and died.
Concert music cannot thrive on such economies of scarcity as Mr. Ross laments. We (people involved in the creation, production, and dissemination of concert music) must find a way to make our work available in abundance if we are to take a central place in our society.