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Bumbry-Verrett Covent Garden concert is superb viewing - and listening

Two of the world's leading sopranos - Grace Bumbry and Shirley Verrett - make their first duo appearance on television in a concert that may be the major musical event of the season - in any medium.

Grace Bumbry and Shirley Verrett in Concert at Covent Garden (PBS, Wednesday, April 25, 9:30-11 p.m., check local listings for premiere and repeats) perform some of the most hauntingly beautiful and exhilaratingly dramatic arias from Italian operas in a bravura concert that was taped at the Royal Opera House in London on Dec. 4. A similar concert was performed at Carnegie Hall last year.

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As if the glorious voices of these two prima donnas were not enough to guarantee 90 minutes of superb entertainment, this BBC production, in association with Columbia Artists, allows the Prince of Wales to take viewers on a royal guided tour of the 250-year-old opera house, where the Miss Bumbry and Miss Verrett are interviewed during rehearsal.

WNET, New York, and its underwriter must be congratulated for a totally mellifluous musical coup in which composers Verdi and Bellini, divas Bumbry and Verrett, and the whole world of opera aficionados have been magnificently served.

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