[O]ne of the enormous braziers perched on tripods on either side of the stage flamed up like an outdoor grill with too much charcoal lighter fluid. . . .
Dolora Zajick, the Amneris for the evening, kept singing, although she glanced nervously upstage to the flaming prop. At one point, James Levine, who was conducting, ducked into the pit and made a hurried telephone call.
Finally, the chorus of priests marched back out on stage. Lurking behind the priests, who spread out across the stage in case they needed to form a bucket brigade, was a man seriously out of costume, crouching behind the chorus and trying to look inconspicuous carrying a fire extinguisher. As the chorus tried to cover him from view, the fireman fought the blaze.
True to the traditions of show business, the Met fireman kept his bursts with the extinguisher short, apparently trying to time them to coincide with the forte passages the chorus was singing and end them when Miss Zajick sang alone.
On this day in 1968 tenor Placido Domingo made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Maurizio.
Happy 86th birthday actress, singer and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot.