Met’s ‘Barber’ sharpens demo

Segment performed on 'Letterman'

On a list of the top 10 music acts least likely to appear on “Late Show With David Letterman,” the Metropolitan Opera ranks pretty high.

But viewers who tuned in to the show’s Nov. 8 edition saw exactly that, when a segment of the Met’s upcoming production of “The Barber of Seville” was performed by six principal singers, 12 choristers and a 22-piece orchestra.

It’s all part of an effort by Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, to build auds for the opera — and endow it with a hint of hipness while he’s at it.

The former agent and son of former New York Times managing editor Arthur Gelb enlisted a slew of helmers who’ve made names for themselves in arenas other than the rarefied opera world, including Anthony Minghella, Julie Taymor and Bartlett Sher (“The Light in the Piazza”), who helms “Barber.”

Org’s new media initiative has included a September “plaza-cast” of the opening-night perf of Minghella’s “Madama Butterfly” broadcast over screens in Lincoln Center Plaza and in Times Square.

First perf of “Barber” was to be simulcast on Sirius radio and the Met’s Web site Nov. 10, and an upcoming series of HD movie transmissions of Met operas kicks off Dec. 30 with Taymor’s new production of “The Magic Flute.”

As for Letterman, he seemed to appreciate such an unexpectedly highfalutin addition to his guest list.

“Maybe I’ll learn something,” he cracked.

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