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National Council winners (from left) Nemzer, Mezzacappa, Brugger, Grills and Evans
© Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera 2012
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Allen takes the director's chair in Boston
© Sussie Ahlburg 2012
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Red-carpet arrival: Jones
© Caroline P. Digonis 2012

1. MICHAEL STIPE, JANUARY JONES and SALMAN RUSHDIE were among the celebrities to attend the METROPOLITAN OPERA's gala opening of Manon on March 26. The production by Laurent Pelly starred Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala as Manon and the Chevalier des Grieux. 

2. On March 27, the Wagner Society of New York hosted a panel discussion, moderated by filmmaker and writer Hilan Warshaw, on the phenomenon of opera in movie theaters. The panelists included HEIDI WALESON, opera critic for the Wall Street Journal; bass-baritone ERIC OWENS; and BRIAN LARGE, who has served as video director for more than 600 opera, symphony and ballet programs across the globe.

In June and July, the Metropolitan Opera's HD SUMMER ENCORE SERIES rebroadcasts six popular titles from the company's Live in HD series to movie theaters across the country. The series begins on June 13 with Anna  Bolena and continues with Le Comte Ory (June 20), Don Giovanni (June 27), Les Contes d'Hoffmann (July 11), Lucia di Lammermoor (July 18) and Der Rosenkavalier (July 25). Check www.metopera.org for local listings.  

The Met has also released "MET OPERA ON DEMAND," a new app for the iPad that allows streaming access to past video transmissions from the Live in HD series, plus hundreds of historic television and radio broadcasts.  

3. THOMAS ALLEN makes his debut with BOSTON LYRIC OPERA next season when he directs and stars as Don Alfonso in a new production of Così Fan Tutte. BLO's 2012–13 season, which consists of four new productions, also includes Madama Butterfly, Der Fliegende Holländer and the U.S. premiere of James MacMillan's Clemency.

4. On March 18, the METROPOLITAN OPERA announced the winners of the 2012 National Council Auditions. They were soprano Janai Brugger; mezzo Margaret Mezzacappa; countertenor Andrey Nemzer; tenor Matthew Grills; and baritone Anthony Clark Evans. The winners, each of whom received a cash prize of $15,000, were selected from nine finalists who performed arias with the Met's orchestra, conducted by Andrew Davis. The Grand Finals Concert was hosted by Eric Owens, who sang "Ella giammai m'amò," from Verdi's Don Carlo, during the judges' deliberations.

Tenor ISSACHAH SAVAGE won the $10,000 grand prize at the Marcello Giordani Foundation International Vocal Competition, which took place in New York on March 3.  

5. The Juilliard School presented an all-Czech liederabend on March 29 in Paul Hall, celebrating the creation of the Yveta Synek Graff Czech Opera Collection.The collectionincludes translated and phoneticized Czech opera and song scores and archival documents that have been donated to Juilliard by Yveta Synek Graff. The concert was followed by a reception attended by Renée Fleming, Frank Corsaro, Eve Queler, F. Malcolm Graff, Jr., James S. Marcus and Juilliard president Joseph W. Polisispacer 

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