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Rising star Angela Meade in Met Opera's 'Ernani'

Associated Press Modified: February 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm •  Published: February 3, 2012

Furlanetto, now 62, was the one principal singer who combined voice and acting. With bright white hair and a beard, he gave dignity and pain to Silva, who plots revenge against Ernani for disrupting his planned marriage to Elvira, then almost gleefully insists that Ernani, as a matter of honor, must fulfill his suicide-on-demand pledge. At times he sang with a gruffness quite appropriate for the aged character.

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.