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Massenet's Don Quichotte, which focuses only on a brief episode at the end of the Don's life, was based not directly on Cervantes, but a 1904 play by Jacques le Lorain. Even soon after its 1910 premiere, the opera was criticized for trivializing the original novel. The problem is that Don Quixote holds such iconic status that any tampering with the story that essentially alters its tone is bound to meet with resistance. Massenet wrote lyrical, appealing, and affecting music for the opera, so it's a shame that Henri Cain's ...

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