Music: Glitz On The Nile

Move over, Zeffirelli. For a $10 million staging of Verdi's Aida this month, Egyptian-born Impresario Fawzi Mitwali rejected sets for the real thing: the Temple of Luxor on the site of ancient Thebes. Besides Tenor Placido Domingo, opening night featured the 525-member Arena di Verona Opera Company, 180 Egyptian soldiers and 200 extras tramping down the Avenue of the Sphinxes.

More than 4,000 of the glitterati paid up to $600 a ticket. But the echoing acoustics proved atrocious ("double Domingo," cracked one listener). Just 14,000 tickets were sold for the other nine performances (the tenor sang only the premiere), leaving Mitwali...

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