New York — The Metropolitan Opera's revival of Verdi's ''Luisa Miller'' became distinguished when Adriana Maliponte returned to the stage after too long an absence. There is no finer soprano in this repertoire today. The voice is sumptuous, especially in the quieter singing, where the already plummy sound takes on a shower of resonances. She suffuses a vocal line with rich colors, burnished hues, and uncanny amounts of emotion and passion. Every utterance becomes something major as she unfolds it.
And she is a fine actress to boot! Her artistry makes one sit up and take notice. Suddenly opera becomes the exciting art form one always wishes it would be. This house once featured Miss Maliponte regularly. Here's hoping that at the soonest possible opportunity she will be restored to that honored position.
Luciano Pavarotti had not sung when I first caught up with ''Luisa Miller'' this season, but he was back for this performance. His Rodolpho is his best work in recent memory - committed, passionate, and handsomely sung. As Luisa's father , veteran baritone Mario Sereni was in this case not only out of voice, but out of place.