The producer Ian Judge puts it down to snobbery. 'It's the great crossover opera, a step up from a good West End musical - tremendous dance rhythms, great tunes every two minutes - and as such it's been anathema to the intellectual musical fraternity, the sort who consider Puccini second- rate.' Judge considers that Massenet's time has come, as a man of the theatre as much as a tunesmith, and his production for ENO pulls out all the stops.
The frothy costumes (left) are by Deirdre Clancy and John Gunter does the sets, which include huge windmills whose sails pluck up the egregious Don and toss him into the air. Flamenco dancers and a donkey also make a bid for the limelight. (London Coliseum, WC2, 071-632 8300, from Sat.)