Music: Best Since Chaliapin?

The program called the newcomer a basso, and he looked like a big one. But San Francisco operagoers, knowing that there are no great dramatic bassos around these days, sat back to listen in medium apathy. Next thing they knew, they were on the edge of their seats. Nicola Rossi-Lemeni was giving them Boris Godunov at the top of its style.

In the mad scene, he looked as though he might chew up every backdrop in California; with a rich, bellowing bass to match his histrionics, the effect was heroic. After the death scene, the bravos all but blew the house in....

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