Music: Ovations for Sale

They number about 40 men, mostly Italians. They band together whenever Manhattan's Metropolitan Opera gives a performance. They have no tickets and they need none. A leader passes them in, huggermugger, at the 39th Street entrance before the carriage trade arrives. Inside, they station themselves on either side of the house, as near the stage as possible. Perhaps 15 climb to the tip-top gallery. Upstairs or downstairs their job is the sameĀ—to clap.

Last week the horny-palmed gentlemen of the Claque were worried, for the whisper was that they would no longer be wanted...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!