Music: Fifty Years at the Met

Behind the fabled artists in the Metropolitan Opera's long history from Caruso to Nilsson, have stood thousands of other, anonymous singers needed to keep the show on the stage. They were the members of the chorus, providing night after night the necessary Egyptian commoners, the Parisian tradespeople, the Spanish factory girls and Russian peasants.

The 78 singers now in the Met's excellent chorus rarely falter, but when one does, standard procedure is to look for a cue from a buxom, 65-year-old mezzo-soprano named Marguerite Belleri. Says she: "If I cry, they cry. If...

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