The famed sopranos give the Met its glamour, but its roster of first-class male singers provides the backbone. As box-office attractions, none of them can compare with a Callas or Tebaldi, and certainly not one of them commands the fanatical personal devotion Caruso once enjoyed. But their presence at the Metropolitan means the difference between a minor and a major opera house. Among the Met's best men:

Mario Del Monaco, 39, tenor, singing opposite Tebaldi in this week's opening Tosca. Endowed with the most glorious top register in all opera, Del Monaco came...

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