Ge E Tcha Red Hot Puccini He Ah!

Opera may be highbrow, but it doesn't have to take itself too seriously. The Connecticut Opera is promoting its production of Donizetti's Don Pasquale with a flier that resembles a supermarket tabloid. "The 'Don' Duped in Bogus Wedding Scam," it reads. " 'She Only Wanted My Money!' Juicy Details Inside."

Popularizing opera might offend diehards. But it helps fill the house during tough times. The Hartford-based company reports that tickets for Don Pasquale are moving briskly, and Connecticut Governor Lowell Weicker's March cameo appearance in Madama Butterfly meant almost $60,000 in extra business. A joint promotion with a local radio station to hype a real wedding held just before a performance of The Marriage of Figaro doubled ticket sales.

By the way, the Weicker walk-on was in a nonsinging role. Some things even the Connecticut Opera won't do.

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