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The opera’s relative lack of popularity is due in part to the plot, which is unremittingly bleak, even by Verdian standards. Francesco, a nobleman jealous of his older brother Carlo, has turned their father against him and driven the old man mad. Carlo, meanwhile, joins a band of brigands (who prattle on about their love of mayhem in a bouncy chorus that Gilbert and Sullivan would parody 30 years later in “The Pirates of Penzance.”)

Francesco tries to force Carlo’s sweetheart, Amalia, to marry him, but she runs off with Carlo, who stabs her to death rather than see her tainted by a life of crime.

Soprano Isabel Rey struggled as Amalia and, perhaps wisely, did not take the high note at the end of her Act 2 cabaletta. A last-minute substitute for the indisposed Fabio Sartori, tenor Massimiliano Pisapia filled in respectably as Carlo, while baritone Thomas Hampson made for a smooth villain when he wasn’t pushing his voice too hard.

Benjamin Bernheim, a young, fresh-sounding tenor, made a strong impression in a supporting role.

The singers weren’t helped by conductor Adam Fischer’s tendency to let the tempos droop, sapping energy from a score that should throb with vitality.

Director Guy Joosten staged the action effectively, using a turntable for quick scene changes. There were minimal props in the first half, just a bed and a table and chair, along with a portrait gallery to which Francesco is eager to add his own likeness as lord of the manor.

In the second half, a single set depicted a snowy forest with a ruined shack and looked like a vision of nuclear winter, appropriate to the dire denouement.

On Thursday night, the company revived Puccini’s “Girl of the Golden West,” just one day shy of the 100th anniversary of the work’s world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera. Known as the first “spaghetti Western,” the opera is one of Puccini’s few where the heroine survives at the end _ Minnie, the saloonkeeper, saves the reformed bandit Dick Johnson from the hangman’s noose and then heads off into the sunset with him.

The handsome production by David Pountney pays homage to the silent film era of Westerns, with movie titles to frame each act and grainy old footage of a chase scene played during Johnson’s offstage capture in Act 3.

A split-level set allows some striking images, such as Minnie twirling about in delight on the upper level after Johnson has taught her a simple dance step in the saloon below. And the final tableau is as poignant as it should be: The miners stand dejectedly in darkness below as Minnie and Dick walk off above them, singing “Addio, California.” (They’re actually supposed to ride off, but there are no horses in this production.)

Soprano Emily Magee was a lovely Minnie, feisty and dignified at the same time. It cost her some effort to reach the role’s many high notes, but reach them she did. And in the all-important middle register her voice came through clear and strong.

Tenor Jose Cura has a bad habit of lunging at notes, but he delivered when it counted most _ in his climactic solo in Act 2 after he has confessed his identity to Minnie, and in his brief but haunting Act 3 aria. As Sheriff Jack Rance, whose love Minnie rejects, baritone Carlo Guelfi projected a large but raspy sound. Most of them time it fit his snarling character pretty well.

Conductor Massimo Zanetti emphasized drama over some of the delicate orchestral effects in the score, but it made for an exciting evening.