Dueling Tenors: Famed tenors Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo celebrated their 25th anniversaries at New York’s Metropolitan Opera on Monday night by fighting a duel. The swordplay capped a unique performance of Act III of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” in which both singers appeared together in the costume and character of the hero, Manrico. After a few comedic scenes, the two men drew swords and exchanged a few ripostes, then joined in a climactic high note that brought the cheering sell-out audience of 4,000 to their feet. Both tenors were presented with silver trays following the gala. Domingo, 52, has sung more than 350 performances at the Met since his debut in Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur”; Pavarotti, 57, nearly 250 since his first “La Boheme.”
‘Sunset’ Lead Picked: Los Angeles actor Alan Campbell has been selected to play the role of Joe Gillis in the Los Angeles production of “Sunset Boulevard.” A spokesman confirmed that Campbell won the role following a series of auditions and added that the actor “was the unanimous choice of the ‘Sunset Boulevard’ creative team.” Campbell, a relative unknown who played a rookie district attorney on CBS’ “Jake and the Fatman” and an assistant chef on ABC’s “Three’s a Crowd,” was not reachable at press time. The delay in casting the male lead was a key reason that the show’s Shubert Theatre opening was recently moved back a week to Dec. 9. Campbell, who also appeared in the NBC soap opera “Another World,” began his professional career as a singer.
‘Picket Fences’ Wins Again: Triple Emmy winner “Picket Fences” was tapped for another top dramatic series prize Tuesday when the Center for Population Options announced winners of its Ninth Annual Nancy Susan Reynolds Awards, recognizing outstanding portrayals of family planning, sexuality and reproductive health. Among other awards, episodes of HBO’s “Dream On” and ABC’s “Step by Step” will share the comedy accolades, PBS’ “POV: Silverlake Life: The View From Here” will take the documentary prize, and Michael Braverman, creator of the now-defunct ABC series “Life Goes On” will receive the special John Rock Award for individual achievement. The awards will be handed out Nov. 10 in Santa Monica.
Taking Hunters to Task: Pop star Paul McCartney, during a sold-out concert in Oslo, took the whale-hunting nation to task for a practice he described as being as outdated and wrong as slavery. Fans ignored calls by whaling organizations to boycott McCartney’s concerts Monday and Tuesday and only three tickets were returned for Monday night’s show. At the start of the concert, McCartney showed an eight-minute film denouncing animal cruelty, which met with boos from many in the audience. Included were scenes shot in slaughterhouses as well as a brief sequence of a whale being harpooned. Norway this year resumed commercial whaling in defiance of a 1985 moratorium imposed by the International Whaling Commission, and polls show more than 70% of Norwegians support the practice.
Bixby Talks: Actor-director Bill Bixby, 59, who is battling prostate cancer that’s spread to his bladder and hipbones, tearfully addresses his fans on today’s “Entertainment Tonight,” telling viewers to “be good to yourself” and citing the late Michael Landon as his example of how to die gracefully. Bixby, who is currently directing episodes of NBC’s “Blossom,” says he suffers tremendous pain every day. “I find myself looking at the obituaries to see if I’m there,” he says.
The latest Madonna controversy has the national Catholic League fuming over New York bus ads for music TV channel VH-1 that picture the pop star alongside the Virgin Madonna with copy reading: “The Difference Between You and Your Parents.” “They’ve crossed the line. They put a religious symbol on public property and hold it up to disdain,” says the group. . . . A Santa Monica judge said a man who accused Shari Belafonte of threatening him and his dog is “a pathetic liar or deluded.” Dwain A. Singleton, Belafonte’s former production assistant, was ordered to pay $5,000 for filing a frivolous claim alleging that the actress threatened him to keep him quiet about her personal life.