DRIVING FORCE

Placido Domingo will officially become artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera next year, but in the meantime he’s still performing to standing ovations. Last week, the tenor — bearded and bushy-haired for the role of Samson opposite Denyce Graves in “Samson et Dalila” — heard the applause from a crowd that included Faye Dunaway, Barbara and Marvin Davis, Joanna and Sidney Poitier, David Hockney, Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance, and Jack Nicholson with Lara Flynn Boyle, who was hiding behind dark glasses.
“I think behind every great man is a great woman,” said Wendy Stark Morrissey, referring to Marta Domingo, who has herself directed operas at the Los Angeles Opera and other venues. “She’s the Rock of Gibraltar.”
Domingo was in L.A. for just three performances before jetting off to sing “I Pagliacci” at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, which opens the season on Sept. 27.
A few days earlier, the waiters were already clearing away the first course at the Jardin de Bagatelle in Paris when Johnny Hallyday and his wife, Laetitia, finally turned up at the Vuitton lunch for the annual Automobiles Classiques event. Seems the French rocker needed a few extra minutes to buff his Mercedes, which was part of an exhibition sponsored by the German car manufacturer. Other guests included Claudia Cardinale, Virginie Ledoyen, James Coburn and Vuitton’s president, Yves Carcelle.

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