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By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
Topic - Piotr Beczala
Maybe Des McAnuff should have added a Slim Pickens-type Maj. Kong from "Dr. Strangelove" to ride the atomic bomb in his production of Gounod's "Faust" for the Metropolitan Opera.
For all the bright lights and razzle-dazzle of the Las Vegas locale, the most illuminating stretches in Michael Mayer's showy new production of "Rigoletto" at the Metropolitan Opera occurred when the three commanding singers were left alone at the front of the stage and the splashy scenery receded into the background.
Diana Damrau recalled when she learned the Metropolitan Opera's new production of "Rigoletto" would be set in the glitzy Rat Pack-era Las Vegas of 1960, not 16th-century Mantua.
Opera-goers attending Salzburg Festival's new production of Puccini's "La Boheme" expected the worst when the man with the microphone stepped out, shortly before show-time _ but then came the good news. Piotr Beczala, who had received rave reviews at last week's premiere, had lost his voice, they were told, but instead of the show being stripped of its star performer, his voice would be replaced by one of the hottest names in opera today.
Before dying on stage, the lead singers in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" get sick.
Beczala, however, said "the proportions between characters are there. It's not really something completely stupid."
"Many people are a little bit scared about it, because they just see or hear about Las Vegas," Polish tenor Piotr Beczala said.