Music: Curtain Up

Manhattanites paused to stare at a familiar free show: ladies in low necks and long skirts, and men in top hats and white ties, all piling out of limousines and taxicabs at the musty, brownstone Metropolitan Opera House. It was opening night at the Met.

Backstage, 29-year-old Yugoslav Soprano Daniza Ilitsch, late of a Nazi concentration camp, nervously awaited the call for her first Met performance as Amelia in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera. In the pit, a new Italian conductor, Giuseppe Antonicelli, was making his Met debut.

In the Black. During the war the 64-year-old Metropolitan had become the world's leading opera...

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