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Soprano Makes Impressive Debut in ‘Traviata’ at Met

October 3, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Soprano Victoria Loukianetz, whose coloratura singing stabs like a laser beam, made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Violetta in Verdi’s ``La Traviata.″

During the first act on Wednesday night, her voice gave ample evidence that she would be a wonderful evil Queen of the Night in ``The Magic Flute.″ But it made a listener wonder what she would do with the rest of ``Traviata.″

What she did was to spin the lyric line with care and beauty and, in the last, tragic act, to use pianissimo and passionate outbursts to very moving effect.

Loukianetz, who was born in Kiev, Ukraine, made her La Scala debut last season as the Queen of the Night. Her upcoming debut at Paris’ Bastille Opera will be as Violetta.

Baritone Carlos Alvarez also made a Met debut, as the Elder Germont. Like Loukianetz, his is an unusual voice. He was born in Spain but his voice has a dark, Slavic quality. However, it is tightly focused, without the spread-out sound of many Slavic male voices.

Alvarez’s voice is aristocratic, which Germont is. But it doesn’t seem a good fit for the role of a Frenchman in an Italian opera.

Tenor Marcello Giordani, who made his Met debut in 1995 in ``La Boheme,″ singing Alfredo, shows much promise. His voice is warm and caressing, in the best Italian manner. Occasionally, a note sounded harsh. If Giordani can eliminate that problem, he should be greatly in demand.

Placido Domingo conducted. He dug into all Verdi’s orchestral beauty and let the singers linger over their arias. As a result, sometimes the opera dragged. Domingo’s concern for singers is understandable and admirable to a point. He needs also to think about shaping the entire opera.

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