Hvorostovsky, his long, white silvery hair draping over the collar of his gold king suit, was a dashing Carlo. His voice had trouble opening up at times and was a bit breathy, and he struck some stiff regal poses, but he sang passionately.
De Biasio was a replacement for the late Salvatore Licitra in the title role and had only one previous performance at the Met, taking over Gabriele Adorno for the first performance of Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" last season when Ramon Vargas got sick. His voice is youthful and pliant, filled with color, but it lost a tiny bit of its luster when pushed.
Mixing all this together was conductor Marco Armiliato, who emphasized Verdi's bouncy rhythms over texture.
Pier Luigi Samaritani's production, which dates from 1983, had not been seen for 23 years before the 2008 revival. It originally was a vehicle for Luciano Pavarotti for the Met's 100th-anniversary season.
Peter J. Hall's costumes are colorful and glamorous, frocks that any imperial court would be happy to attire its attendants in.
There are five more performances through Feb. 25, the last of which will be broadcast to theaters around the world in high-definition. Marcello Giordani sings the final three Carlos, a role he performed at the Met four years ago.
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