Music: Recording in Italy

On summer evenings in Italy, the crowds jostle into the famous outdoor arenas—Rome's Baths of Caracalla, Naples' Arena Flegrea—to inhale great draughts of Verdi. Puccini, Rossini and Menotti. But better opera is sung every summer in the country's storied opera houses—to empty stalls and batteries of condenser microphones. Up and down the peninsula last week the record companies were tuning the mikes -to the golden sounds that will burst on buyers' ears next season.

This wholesale invasion of Italy's music houses is an annual event for U.S. and European record companies. Costs are lower...

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