Personality

Here are some of the character traits which Dorothy Caruso mentions in her book "Enrico Caruso: His Life and Death"

  • Charisma. When he spoke with people, he gave them his full attention.
    He tried to avoid parties, but when he couldn't, he inevitably became the life and soul of the party with his high spirits and intense presence.
  • Generous. Almost daily he would receive requests for money from people and he was not known to have turned any of them down. His wife asked him if he was sure that all these people were in need. He answered: "No, but how do I know who is and who isn't?"
  • Non-judgemental. Caruso always avoided critique of other singers. If he had sung duet with another person and was asked to comment on the performance of the other, he would say: "I don't know - I didn't hear it." When he performed he was so engrossed with the expression that he did not even hear his own voice.
  • Perfectionist and a stickler for order. Stamps, clippings and other items he collected were meticulously put in order. His daily routines were planned to the last detail.
  • Honesty. Once he was attending a Red Cross benefit at the Manhattan Opera House, given for soldiers and sailors. As soon as Caruso was recognized in the box the audience began to cheer and to shout to him to sing "Over There." His contract with the Metropolitan did not allow him to sing in public except at concerts specified in his agreement. But the huge audience knowing nothing of this continued to yell and shout for him to sing to them. A delegation of soldiers and sailors came to beg him to sing to the boys, and the committee in charge of the concert also added their persuasions. It was more than human endurance could stand. Enrico yielded at last and going on the stage, sang "Over There" with the immense crowd of men joining enthusiastically in the chorus. As soon as the song was finished he took his wife back to the hotel; he then at once went to Mr. Gatti-Casazza (of the MET) and told him he had broken his contract. He of course was promptly forgiven.
  • Exaggerated cleanliness. He took baths and changed his clothes several times a day.
  • Hot-tempered. But he would usually quickly regret his bursts of anger.


Click above to listen to:
"Un bacio ancora (Still a kiss)"
(Song in Italian - Trimarchi, Rocco)
• Recorded 19-04-1903 •
More information here

Random Quote (view all here)

Henry Pleasants (renowned American music critic):

2 centuries ago, Tosi wrote; "Oh, how great a master is the heart! Confess it my beloved singers, and gratefully own that you would not have arrived at the highest rank if you had not been its scholars. Own that in a few lessons from it, you learned the most beautiful expressions. Own, that heart corrects the defects of nature, - softens a harsh voice, betters an indifferent one, and perfects a good one! When the heart sings you cannot dissemble. Nor has truth a greater power of persuading.."
With Caruso's voice, his heart was little burdened with correcting the defects of nature, softening harshness or bettering indifference. It could concentrate on the perfection of the good. Since his heart was big, and the voice nearly perfect to begin with, the lyrical communication was an unexampled combination of excitement and warmth'. The public was his partner in the fulfillment of a mission, and his role was to give the best, and all of the best that was in him...'