NEW YORK (AP) _ Martha Graham, who really knows how to stage a gala opening night, cast Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev in ''Appalachian Spring'' for the finale of the opening night program of her company's three-week season.

When the 93-year-old choreographer took bows with the ''Appalachian Spring'' cast Tuesday night, many bouquets whizzed through the air from the City Center balcony, some landing on the stage.

Jacqueline Onassis and soprano Jessye Norman were among celebrities in the audience.

Nureyev has danced the revival preacher in ''Appalachian Spring'' with the company before. His portrayal is still vital, still stern but laced now with a knowing smile that admits taking pleasure in the attention of four fluffy female admirers.

Baryshnikov was dancing for Miss Graham for the first time. He danced a young farmer about to be married by the preacher. Terese Capucilli was the bride, exhibiting an overly anxious air. Baryshnikov was a study in wonderment, rapture and passion - thrilled by his new house, entranced by his bride, delighted in his horse and land as far as he could see.

Stanley Sussman conducted the famous music that Aaron Copland wrote for Miss Graham.

Bolshoi Ballet long-time star Maya Plisetskaya interrupted a tour of Spain with the Bolshoi to dance a solo at the gala. She gave a moving performance in ''The Incense,'' which Ruth St. Denis choreographed and premiered in 1906.

Miss Graham herself danced ''Frontier,'' which she choreographed. Denise Vale, in a harem skirt, danced the exotic ''Serenata Morisca'' from 1916. Takako Asakawa danced the 1926 ''Tanagra,'' with a large, transparent cloth as a prop. Joyce Herring danced Miss Graham's 1930 ''Lamentation.''

The evening began with ''Temptations of the Moon'' from last year and accelerated with the 1947 ''Errand into the Maze.'' The company wore shiny gold for the ''Ritual to the Sun'' section of Miss Graham's 1981 ''Acts of Light.''