The Met does Wagner proud

'Luise Miller'

A revival of Verdi's ''Luisa Miller'' foundered on the listless conducting of Nello Santi. Katia Ricciarelli's once-beautiful soprano used to be at its best in this music before. several seasons of too-dramatic roles. The same is even more true of Jose Carreras, deputizing for Luciano Pavarotti. While it was wonderful to have Carreras as a replacement, and though he sang a fine first act , the role is too heavy for him. He ended up at the very edge of his voice for most of the evening.

Baritone Leo Nucci is someone the Met should hang on to - an Italian baritone to the manner born - who knows how to present this repertoire in the grand style. His performance as Luisa's father was the highlight of the evening, particularly in the first act. Bianca Berini, in her finest assignment to date at the Met, made the usually wan Federica something important and fiery. Paul Plishka's familiar Walther was a bit gruffer than usual. John Cheek's made his villainous Wurm rather too caricaturish, and the voice is not substantial enough for this repertoire in so large a house.

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