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<b>The Queen of Queens * Cooking With Zeta-Jones * Kournikova Holds Court</b><br><br>The American Museum of Natural History hosted a celebration fit for a queen on Tuesday night, and a queen of queens was there in all her glory. The evening honored...

The Queen of Queens * Cooking With Zeta-Jones * Kournikova Holds Court

The American Museum of Natural History hosted a celebration fit for a queen on Tuesday night, and a queen of queens was there in all her glory. The evening honored her majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, who came to New York for the opening of the museum’s staggeringly beautiful new exhibition of ancient treasures called “Petra: Lost City of Stone.” Here until July of next year, it should be seen by all. Rania should also be seen by all. Ellen Futter, the museum’s president, called her “a modern treasure.” And so she is. Exquisite, she has a beautiful smile, perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect eyebrows, perfectly dressed in Dominique Sirop’s blue and silver gray satin gown. But at least 600 guests got a look at her as she moved graciously through the crowd before and after dinner.

The museum resembled an oasis bathed in scarlet and festooned with bursts of plants as the early guests arrived for a private viewing of this magnificent show, the most comprehensive ever presented on the ancient city of rose red stone.

Dinner was served to 136 guests in the glowing Family Hall of Ocean Life, where Bill Tansey filled the room with lush arrangements of autumn blooms and hundreds of shimmering candles. Then it was on to the giant Rotunda, where 500 additional guests arrived for champagne and sweets. The Rotunda and its landmark Barosaurus were awash in a mosaic of crimson and gold light where Tansey again had nestled crimson and amber blossoms among autumn foliage nearly 10 feet tall. Among those milling about to glimpse Rania were such as the chic and stunning Princess Firyal of Jordan (she is the chair of the Museum Ball on Nov. 2); Meredith and Tom Brokaw; Judge Kimba Wood and Frank Richardson, the chairman of the museum’s board; Lewis W. Bernard; Ambassador and Mrs. Karim Kawar; Cecile and Ezra Zilkha; Mr. and Mrs. Bill Moyers; Connie and Stephen Spahn, and Mr. and Mrs. John Heimann. It was a night to remember.

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones lost the roof on their multimillion-dollar house in Bermuda during the hurricane in September and nearly lost their Manhattan place recently when the dinner Catherine was trying to prepare caught on fire and she had to call in the firemen. She escaped the apartment and waited for help next to the elevator. When Michael arrived, he pointed out the fire extinguisher next to the stove and then said, “Honey, don’t go in the kitchen anymore.”

Michael had just returned from Bermuda, where he worked with disaster experts to help repair the damage to the house, clearing debris and repairing power cables, and this, before the conflagration, was supposed to be a welcome-home dinner.

Catherine has been in California, where she said quite often that she dreams of going back onstage. “I’d love to be onstage doing anything because I just love performing. I have a real ambition to do a really tacky Vegas show with drag queens,” she said. Is that all?

Neil Shicoff, the internationally acclaimed tenor, who stars in the Metropolitan Opera’s historic revival of “La Juive” this season, is being celebrated at a brunch at Elaine’s on Sunday given by Paula Heil Fisher, whose Millennial Arts Foundation is producing a documentary on the opera and on Shicoff himself.

First performed in 1840 in Paris, the Fromental Halevy opera has not been sung at the Met since 1936. A story of religious intolerance, it was cause enough to be banned in Germany and Austria in 1933. It was one of opera immortal Enrico Caruso’s favorite roles, and Giovanni Martinelli was the last to perform it at the Met. Halevy was the father of Georges Bizet, who helped him with his musical notations. As part of the documentary, film director Sidney Lumet created a music video of the opera’s most haunting aria. It will be shown on several screens at Elaine’s during the brunch.

“La Juive” opens at the Met Nov. 6, and among those who will be coming on Sunday for a sampling of the opera and Shicoff himself are Ahmet Ertegun, opera star Aprile Millo, Brooke Hayward Duchin, Placido Domingo’s son Alvaro, Marisa Berenson and Ted Forstmann.

Prince Albert of Monaco hosted the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo at a big party at Jimmy’z with the usual models and rockers, among them Pink, Heidi Klum and “Terminator 3” star Kristanna Loken. The place actually shook with the deafening music. Albert didn’t appear to be loving it like he used to — in fact, he was wearing earplugs. Anna Kournikova, one of the evening’s presenters, insisted on being seated next to the Prince at dinner. According to reports, she told him she was planning to put down her tennis racquet in favor of either a microphone or a script. In fact, she was quoted as saying, “Acting is something I definitely enjoy doing. I’d love to appear in something like ‘Sex and the City’ or ‘Friends.’ I get offered lots of those sorts of jobs, but I never have time to pursue them because of my tennis. But I won’t make a final decision on my career until January. I can still do occasional exhibition games, but I can’t cope with the rigorous schedule of major tournaments. I have been playing since I was 5. That’s 17 years of hard training every day. Tennis is my life, and I really don’t know what’s going to happen.” Where are my earplugs?

Cate Blanchett is in Rome doing a Donna Karan print advertising campaign. This will be her second season, and one wonders if she’s going to keep doing them for Donna. Someone in the industry said there just isn’t enough excitement about Cate doing the Donna label. It was expected that her profile would be much higher, what with her new big movies out. But the public has not responded the way it was expected. Does this mean something’s not selling?

The rumor floating around is that Sofia Coppola will be this year’s honoree at the Museum of Modern Art’s tribute to a director. This will only be the program’s third year. Last year, Alexander Payne, who directed “About Schimdt,” was the honoree, and the previous year it was David O. Russell, who directed “Three Kings.” Sofia is so hot you can’t imagine after the release of “Lost in Translation,” so this year she is positively on fire.

Prince Albert of Monaco hosted the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo at a big party at Jimmy’z with the usual models and rockers, among them Pink, Heidi Klum and “Terminator 3” star Kristanna Loken. The place actually shook with the deafening music. Albert didn’t appear to be loving it like he used to — in fact, he was wearing earplugs. Anna Kournikova, one of the evening’s presenters, insisted on being seated next to the Prince at dinner. According to reports, she told him she was planning to put down her tennis racquet in favor of either a microphone or a script. In fact, she was quoted as saying, “Acting is something I definitely enjoy doing. I’d love to appear in something like ‘Sex and the City’ or ‘Friends.’ I get offered lots of those sorts of jobs, but I never have time to pursue them because of my tennis. But I won’t make a final decision on my career until January. I can still do occasional exhibition games, but I can’t cope with the rigorous schedule of major tournaments. I have been playing since I was 5. That’s 17 years of hard training every day. Tennis is my life, and I really don’t know what’s going to happen.” Where are my earplugs?

Cate Blanchett is in Rome doing a Donna Karan print advertising campaign. This will be her second season, and one wonders if she’s going to keep doing them for Donna. Someone in the industry said there just isn’t enough excitement about Cate doing the Donna label. It was expected that her profile would be much higher, what with her new big movies out. But the public has not responded the way it was expected. Does this mean something’s not selling?

The rumor floating around is that Sofia Coppola will be this year’s honoree at the Museum of Modern Art’s tribute to a director. This will only be the program’s third year. Last year, Alexander Payne, who directed “About Schimdt,” was the honoree, and the previous year it was David O. Russell, who directed “Three Kings.” Sofia is so hot you can’t imagine after the release of “Lost in Translation,” so this year she is positively on fire.

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