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The Metropolitan Opera turned 40 in style last night as it threw itself a swank birthday bash celebrating four decades at its Lincoln Center home. But instead of showing graying hairs, the institution decided to trot out its hot young stars: Russian diva Anna Netrebko and Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon.

The duo brought a trail of admirers in their wake to watch them perform a trio of greatest hits: acts from La Boheme, Manon, and L’Elisir d’Amore.

“I’m a big fan,” proclaimed unexpected operaphile Julianna Margulies, who has seen Netrebko perform several times. “It’s like watching two movie stars up there,” gushed Georgette Mosbacher.

Joining them were Mercedes Bass, Jayne Wrightsman, Marie-Josee Kravis and Charlie Rose, who the night before had taped a show with the Opera’s general manager, Peter Gelb.

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