Music: Class of the Claqueurs

The opera at Milan's La Scala last week was Verdi's Battle of Legnano, and the principals bore glittering reputations —Soprano Antonietta Stella, Tenor Franco Corelli. But as anxious to please as either of them were the two men posted on either side of the first gallery (the fifth tier). Antonio Carrara, 33, and Carmelo Alabisio, 76, can lay claim to being opera's most successful dispensers of professional applause.

Carrara and Alabisio are the organizers of the La Scala claque. At a time when claques are disappearing from many of the world's opera houses,...

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