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Placido Domingo and Woody Allen strike poses at the Metropolitan Opera gala in New York on Sunday. ((Ken Howard/The Metropolitan Opera/Associated Press))

Filmmaker Woody Allen and opera world colleagues like Deborah Voigt helped celebrate tenor Placido Domingo's 40th anniversary with New York's Metropolitan Opera at a gala on Sunday.

"He has defined the art of the tenor, fusing drama and music into a higher art," said Met general manager Peter Gelb.

Voigt and fellow singers Patricia Racette and Susan Graham entertained the several hundred people gathered at the Met with their gender-bending spoof of The Three Tenors — the famed super group comprising Domingo, Jose Carreras and the late Luciano Pavarotti.

The three women, who first appeared in tuxedoes, tore off their garb to reveal shimmering gowns before launching into Nessun Dorma — the signature aria The Three Tenors often performed.

The gala, which took place on the Met's stage while the auditorium sat empty, also featured a video montage ranging from excerpts of Domingo's great performances as well as fun clips like an appearance with muppet Miss Piggy.

"Tonight has been emotional. I have been crying," the 67-year-old tenor said, his voice breaking.

When he made his Met debut on Sept. 28, 1968, Domingo found the venerable 4,000-seat auditorium "scary," he said. Now, he describes it as "sacred."

Though best known for his films, Allen recently won acclaim for directing Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at the Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo conducts and serves as general director (he also holds the same post at the Washington National Opera).

With files from the Associated Press