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Three Tenors Together at the Met

May 12, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Three Tenors went back to being just plain opera singers Thursday night, appearing at the Metropolitan Opera for their first performance together in staged opera.

Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti all sounded splendid as each starred in one act of different operas billed as a ``millennium celebration″ to benefit the Met’s pension fund.

All the tickets were sold even though prices ranged from $100 to $25,000 for the best opera boxes.

Pavarotti, who sang last, in Franco Zeffirelli’s lavish Act 3 set for ``Turandot,″ missed a step as he approached soprano Jane Eaglen, who was singing the title role. He was behind her so the audience couldn’t see exactly how he fell, but he quickly stood and joined her for a duet. He continued to sing and move around, seeming unhurt. His manager, Herbert Breslin, said Pavarotti told him ``I’m perfectly fine.″

The first two opera acts were very short. Domingo sang first, in Act 2 of ``Andrea Chenier.″ His voice sounded elegant, ardent and youthful singing a wonderful love duet with Daniela Dessi. Nikolai Putilin and Kim Josephson provided fine support.

Carreras, last heard at the Met in 1987 as Don Jose, sang the part again on Thursday in ``Carmen,″ Act 4. He sang with subtlety and acted with body and voice in the tragic scene pleading with Carmen (sung by the self-possessed Lorraine Hunt Lieberson) to come back to him. The orchestra, conducted all evening by James Levine, was light in this act, allowing the richness in Carreras’ voice to come through without his having to push for volume.

Gino Quilico sang the bullfighter Escamillo and Maria Benitez was a sinuous dancer.

Act 3 of ``Turandot″ is longer and begins with the famous tenor aria ``Nessun dorma.″ It is one of Pavarotti’s favorite arias and he proved that he can still sing it with the warm beauty always characteristic of his voice.

Jane Eaglen sang Princess Turandot with the steely force the part requires and Patricia Racette was exemplary as the slave Liu. She sang with more vocal color than most sopranos who sing Liu, making the part interesting.

Eaglen has more volume than Pavarotti but in duets he held his own and sounded in fine vocal fettle.

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