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'Opera Idol'

All ye who lament the paucity of opera in Buffalo, rejoice.

While it's not exactly resurrection of Enrico Caruso, local opera fans will have a chance Saturday to see some of the best operatic talent in the surrounding area in regional tryouts for the Metropolitan Opera's annual talent-scouting competition. Think of it as an untelevised version of "Opera Idol" with a lot more cred. Its Buffalo contingent is run by local opera lovers and Mary Berlow and Dianne Rubin, who has described her responsibility to work out the day's schedule of frantic opera hopefuls as "hectic."

Throughout the day, 30 singers from Canada and Western New York will perform two arias each before a panel of judges that will include Ward Holmquist, artistic director of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Robin Thompson, associate artistic director of the New York City Opera; and vocal coach Susan Ashbaker of the Philadelphia-based Curtis Institute of Music.

The tryouts, which are open to the public, get under way at 10 a.m. in the Flickinger Performing Arts Center of the Nichols School (1250 Amherst St.). For more information, call 875-5301.

-- Colin Dabkowski

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