Singin' in the Train

Forget the national Opera—today's up-and-coming performers would rather be heard on the subway. Paris' transit authority RATP is fast becoming a hotly contested sound stage. Since 1997, Antoine Naso, a 21-year RATP veteran and the authority's self-designated artistic director, has selected a range of entertainers to fill the Metro's tentacular halls with world music, rock and jazz standards or classical melodies.

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At a recent tryout in a cramped storefront locale about two stops from the Bastille, Naso, wearing a black tie matching his shoes and slacks, sat with two RATP jurors, listening to a group of twentysomething...

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