A note at the bottom of the program for yesterday afternoon's New York City Opera performance of Verdi's "La Traviata" at the Kennedy Center "respectfully" requested audiences "not to interrupt the music with applause." To have enforced this would have been to deprive an opera audience of its favorite indoor sport, cheering airas and crying "brava," and, naturally, the request was ignored.

Faye Robinson as Violetta drew the loudest cheers, as well she might. Violetta is the opera's most sympathetic character and Robinson was in superb form, though more convincing as the energetic courtesan than as the weakening and fading flower.

Alfredo Germont, her lover, marvellously sung and acted by Enrico di Giuseppe, and Pablo Elvira as the stuffy elder Germont also drews "interruptions" to the music. Other fine performances were turned in by Puli Toro as Annina and Sandra Walker as Flora.

Conductor Gigi Campanio gave an impressive Washington debut with this performance. His tendency is to keep things going at a crisp clip, but he was equally up to milking the sad scenes of every drop of dramatic pathos. He was clearly in control but, at the same time, seemed to give the singers plenty of breathing space.

On the whole, Frank Corsaro's direction worked, although he might find some better solutions to the extended business of Violetta's dying.