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Third of French voters spoiled ballots or abstained

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Met Opera stars mark Lincoln Center anniversary

The Metropolitan Opera was gearing up Sunday to celebrate 50 years at Lincoln Center with a gala concert featuring many of opera's biggest stars.

The list of singers expected to perform included Spanish legend Placido Domingo and American soprano, Renee Fleming. At midday, a group of workers was seen plastering a red "sold out" banner across commemorative posters outside the opera house.

After the concert, the company has organized a $3,000 a plate dinner with the artists for its biggest fundraising event in eight years.

The anniversary comes at a challenging time for opera in the United States. Like other US opera houses, the Met has faced difficulty attracting enough new subscribers to replace older audience members who are in decline.

Among leading performers expected, the list included Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca, Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic and Mexican tenor Javier Camarena.

"The Met gala is something huge," said German soprano Diana Damrau, who is seen in promotional video for the event performing the famous "Sempre libera" aria from "La Traviata."

"It's wonderful to meet all the colleagues," she told AFP this week. "It's frightening, but wonderful."

The event is intended in part as a look back at the Met's history at Lincoln Center, a cultural plaza on the Upper West Side that is also home to the New York Philharmonic and New York City Ballet. The Met had previously been located in midtown Manhattan.

The concert will include audience favorites from such operas as "The Magic Flute" and "Otello," but also some more obscure numbers with historical significance, such as from "Antony & Cleopatra," which opened the house in September 1966 with Leontyne Price.

The concert is also showcasing newer stars who are expected to play a bigger role at the house in the coming years. This group includes American tenor Michael Fabiano and South African soprano Pretty Yende.

Euro rallies after Macron wins French presidency

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Macron supporters greet win with joy, some trepidation

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