Saturday's opening night at the Lyric revealed so-so acting skills, but considerable musical strengths from the cast, notably tenor Antonello Palombi as Radames. He sang with great respect for Verdi's intentions (especially when it came to high, soft notes) and with palpable connection to the words. At a time when most voices seem smaller than in the good old days, it's exciting to hear a tenor who can produce so much sound, but with so much tonal variety as well; no mindless, stand-and-bark routine for this guy. Tiziana Caruso's ample low register and more limited top range suggested she would have been even more at home in the mezzo assignment of Amneris than the title role, but the soprano made her mark effectively in several key passages of the opera. Giovanna Casolla, usually heard in soprano territory, offered vocal amplitude and intensity of expression as Amneris. Mark Rucker's artistry, a combination of tone, temperament and taste, filled out the role of Amonasro handsomely. Ashley Howard Wilkinson had many a deep, resonant phrase as Ramfis.