Music: Mirella Freni Tries the Slalom

Europe's great lyric soprano is expanding her career—maybe

First there are the eyes, great brown pools that can reflect a doe's yearning or flash with Mediterranean fire.

The dark blond hair is pulled back, exposing a face still vulnerably cherubic at 46. The nose is a little broad, the lips full.

Vibrant and attractive, she could be a successful businesswoman or a television newscaster. But then Mirella Freni opens her mouth to sing. And suddenly there is only the voice—the voice of the world's foremost lyric soprano.

In an age when many singers stretch their repertories...

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