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Hitting opera's high notes in New York City

Whether you're an opera buff, or a curious novice, it's a good weekend to explore this classical music genre. Here are three productions:

1. LA CENERENTOLA

WHAT Rossini and Da Ponte's comic retelling of the Cinderella tale, with mezzo-soprano Frances Devine. "La Cenerentola" was the first Italian opera to be performed in America, and this Capitol Heights Lyric Opera production reproduces the original 1825 instrumentation and libretto.

WHEN | WHERE Friday night at 7:30 p.m., Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway

INFO $35 door, $30 advance, 212-864-5400, symphonyspace.org

2. SIMON BOCCANEGRA

WHAT Placido Domingo is famous as one of the Three Tenors - but he's switching gears to sing baritone in the title role of this Verdi opera of political intrigue in 14th century Genoa.

WHEN | WHERE Friday night at 8, Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, Broadway and 65th Street

INFO $70-$375, 212-362-6000, metopera.org

3. THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

WHAT There's more Rossini on the bill downtown, where the Bleecker Street Opera - a stepchild of the late, lamented Amato Opera - has extended its production of the composer's delightful comic opera of 1816. David Rosenmeyer conducts; Teresa K. Pond directs.

WHEN | WHERE Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m., 45 Bleecker St.

INFO $36.50-$46.50, 212-239-6200, bleeckerstreetopera.org

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