Biography Part IV
"O Mimi, tu pił non torni"
(La Bohčme - Puccini, Giacomo)
• Recorded 17-03-1907 •
More information here
While he was alive the Victor Talking Machine Company paid him around 2 million dollars for his recordings. After his death his estate has received more than 2 billion dollars in royalties.
The famous film from 1951 "The Great Caruso" with Mario Lanza has probably contributed to these royalties, but many arias have been used in films - e.g. the legendary recording from 1904 of 'Una furtiva lagrima' from L'elisir d'amore.
In 1921 - after years of failing health - Caruso travelled back to his hometown of Neaples with his wife Dorothy (whom he had married three years earlier) and their daughter Gloria - View video here. Here he died on Tuesday, the 2nd of August 1921, just 48 years old, from complications accompanying a serious pleurisy.
The Italian King Victor Emmanuel III offered to have Caruso buried at The Church of San Francesco di Paola in Neaples which otherwise was reserved for the royal family. And there he was laid to rest on the 19th of August as the king his was - the King of Tenors.
The city of Neaples stopped in its tracks, all over flags were flown at half-mast and signs with "LUTTO PER CARUSO" (MOURNING FOR CARUSO) had been hung up in the windows of the closed shops.
Random Quote (view all here)
At a party an overdressed flamboyant woman persisted in demanding answers from Giovanni Martinelli to questions in a loud voice to attract attention. Finally she said, “Come now, Mr. Martinelli, tell us the truth – Caruso was never as good as his press made him to be, is that not the truth.” Martinelli swung around and faced his tormentor. “Madame”, he declared in his accented, but thoroughly accurate English, “Put Gigli, Lauri-Volpi and me together – make us one tenor – and we would not be fit to kiss Caruso’s shoe tops”. “Does that answer you?”