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Metropolitan Opera Celebrates 70th Year on TV

NEW YORK: The Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Pagliacci” was the first of its productions to be broadcast on TV 70 years ago today. According to the Met, “on March 10, 1940, an abridged performance of the first act of “Pagliacci” was broadcast from NBC studios at Rockefeller Center, along with excerpts from four other operas. The one-hour program began at 8.30 p.m. with Bruna Castagna singing the Habanera from “Carmen,” followed by arias from “La Gioconda” and “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”; and the quartet from “Rigoletto.”

In addition to radio and TV, the Met performances are transmitted live in HD to several hundred theaters in more than 40 countries on six continents.

The telecast image shows Bruna Castagna (center right), with Frank St. Leger conducting members of the NBC Orchestra.