Anthony Tommasini writes in the Times: "Mr. Maazel has bought his way to the top without having paid his dues as a composer....Typically, the path to a premiere at a leading house like Covent Garden entails writing dozens of songs, often for singers you know well: the best way to learn how to write for the voice. Composing short, effective dramatic works, perhaps a one-act opera. Peddling ideas to small and midlevel companies and often being rejected. Finally, getting a smaller-scale work accepted for performance — on the condition that you will make any suggested alterations and accommodate the whims of the stage director, who may be a musical ignoramus. It is an exasperating but invaluable rigmarole. By the time you get through it and are ready to write a substantive work for a major company, you should have learned the ins and outs of opera.”
I haven't heard Lorin Maazel's 1984, which was roundly though not universally panned by English critics. Even if it turns out to be a masterpiece, Tony's point still holds: we're facing a grim future if opera commissions are awarded to whoever can most readily take care of money matters in advance. ("If you have the means, you develop your own opera," director Robert Lepage said of the 1984 situation.) Opera companies should be putting their main resources into premieres, not using them as a way of getting a new production almost for free.