WORTH NOTING ON TV

* WEDNESDAY

Metropolitan Opera Presents (PBS, 8-10:30 p.m.): Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo both take the stage in this edition of the noted series. Taped Sept. 26 - opening night of the Met's current season - the program is a double bill, and a rare one: Puccini's ``Il tabarro'' and Leoncavallo's ``I pagliacci'' (the latter, for instance, is usually paired with Mascagni's ``Cavalleria rusticana'').

Both works - here sung in Italian with English subtitles - fall into the verismo school of Italian opera, a tradition in which searing passions lead to violent acts - although when a man gets stabbed in an opera, according to a non-fan I once knew, instead of bleeding he starts to sing.

Domingo is joined by Teresa Stratas, Florence Quivar, and Juan Pons in ``Il tabarro.'' Pavarotti appears with Stratas, Pons, and Duane Croft in ``I pagliacci.''

James Levine conducts both operas, which will be stereo simulcast on radio stations in many areas (please check local listings).

The Kennedy Center Honors: a Celebration of the Performing Arts (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): The main value of these impressive if sometimes cumbersome events is showing that the federal government considers artists worth some official attention.

The 17th edition honors actor Kirk Douglas, singer Aretha Franklin, composer Morton Gould, theater producer-director Harold Prince, and folk singer-activist Pete Seeger.

The evening was taped earlier this month, following a White House reception for the artists the same evening. Walter Cronkite is host as the career of each artist is spotlighted through biographical films that trace his or her life and achievements from childhood, through professional pinnacles, up to the moment at hand.

The biographies are narrated by a parade of celebrity guests who introduce the honorees, and the format also calls for performances done in tribute to the five.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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