Tasty role: Bass gets pasta on stage from celebrity chef

NEW YORK — The bass got an extra tasty role at the Metropolitan Opera. Instead of a prop, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo was served fresh pasta cooked by celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich.

Bastianich prepared the course on stage during a performance of Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore (The Elixir of Love)" that was televised to movie theaters around the world on Saturday. D'Arcangelo sang Dr. Dulcamara, a medicine man who purports to sell a love potion that in fact is wine.

Usually a rubbery prop is served during the second act wedding banquet scene. This time, Bastianich completed tagliatelle with mushrooms during an intermission segment of the broadcast, and D'Arcangelo was served the dish, renamed Pasta d'Amore for the occasion. Fearful of drips, the Met had a large white apron draped over Dulcamara's gold-colored costume.

The 70-year-old Bastianich has assumed a larger operational role in the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group since December, when Mario Batali took a leave of absence following sexual harassment allegations. He issued an apology and said in a statement "much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted."

The Met and Bastianich's Eataly are launching cooking events on March 7 with tenor Vittorio Grigolo. Known for limited food options, the Met also is having Bastianich cater events aimed at attracting younger audiences to three Friday night performances.

"I think what's important is the under 40s — accent on the young people," said Bastianich, who recalled seeing Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli in Verdi's "Aida" at the old Met in the 1960s. "I think it's in our Italian genes. I need good music. I need good art to stimulate me when I'm creating."

She did not stay for the second act, rushing back to Queens to cook lunch for her 97-year-old mother.

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