Music: L'Italiana di Harlem

No opera house caters to Italian opera more lavishly than New York's Metropolitan. But probably no one except Rudolf Bing could have dared, as Bing did last week, to open a big new Met season with a work like Ernani, one of Verdi's least mature operas. As a tale of romance and intrigue among 16th century grandees, Ernani mostly creaks where it should crackle. As music, it is an example of early Verdi that too often comes out merely as early oompah-pah. That Bing succeeded at all merely proves his mastery of his craft....

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