Music: Travesty at the Met

The Metropolitan Opera showed last week why it is sometimes called the Metropolitan Museum of Opera: it presented Verdi's nearly forgotten Ernani. Unofficial reason for the revival: to provide a spectacular assignment for the Met's own longtime exhibit, Soprano Zinka Milanov, who has been buffeted by the triumphs of Italy's Renata Tebaldi and Maria Meneghini Callas. But the combination of early Verdi and late Milanov was simply painful.

The plot of Ernani, based on a Victor Hugo play, resembles a travesty of all grand-opera plots. The main motivation seems to be the handsome...

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