Biography Part II

From Dorothy Caruso's book: "Enrico Caruso: His Life And Death." - can be downloaded here.

Caruso tells his wife this story:

"When I was young, doing my military duty in Naples, I wanted to sing. My sergeant helped me to have an audition with Maestro Vergine. He was a great teacher. He heard me sing and said, "You have a voice like the wind in the shutters." I felt very bad, but he had a class of pupils and I asked if I could listen while he taught them. I spent my free time listening to the lessons. I sat in a corner and no one noticed me.

Then my brother took my military duty for me - very kind of him - and I spend more time in the class. My black suit had turned green, so I bought a little bottle of dye and dyed it and pressed it before I went. My stepmother cut my shirt fronts from paper, so I would look nice.

I had to walk very far every day to get there shoes cost money, so I sang at weddings and funerals to make a little. I remember the first pair of shoes I bought myself very pretty, but the soles were cardboard. Halfway to the Maestro's house came the rain. My beautiful shoes were wet. I took them off and put them by the stove to dry. They curled up and I walked home on bare feet.

At the end of the year the pupils had their examination. When all had finished I asked the Maestro if I could try too. "What! You still here?", he said, but he let me sing. "You have no voice", he said, "but you have intelligence, you have learned something."

He got me my first little engagement. He was very kind to me when I was young and poor."

Click above to listen to:
"Celeste Aida"
(Aida - Verdi, Giuseppe)
• Recorded 29-03-1908 •
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...'