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The Met does Wagner proud

'Il Trovatore'

The overwrought Attilio Colonnello production of ''Il Trovatore'' boasted the return of Leontyne Price after an absence of several seasons. In the fourth act, she turned the clocks back a good 12 years, singing a ''D'amor sull'ali rosee'' that shimmered through and through with the sort of ravishing gossamer singing and limpid phrasing she has made a trademark in the course of her career.

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Alas, the rest of the performance - before and after the aria - revealed oddly mannered, detached, even eccentric singing, and acting of the semaphore school. It did not make for much of a characterization, and that glorious aria aside, one wonders why Miss Price chooses to compete with her own acclaimed past triumphs.

Giuseppe Giacomini's Manrico was earnest, musical, and in the ''Di quella pira,'' ringingly exciting. Louis Quilico was not up to his usual standards as Di Luna. Viorica Cortez repeated her mannered, calculated Azucena, with even less ability to modulate her breathy mezzo than in past encounters. Dimitri Kavrakos sang honorably as Ferrando. No one was helped by the silly stage direction.

James Conlon's conducting lacked theatrical fire, though he usually kept things chugging along.

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