Biography Part III


The applause was not mere hand clapping, but it seemed to be explosions of passion.
The cheers became overwhelming. Caruso gave an encore, as soon as I, surprised by that insistent, intoxicating storm, was able to calm down and start conducting again. The delirium was ecstatic and then there was a second encore and then another. The third act was a crescendo of enthusiasm... Fedora had been consecrated with the new star. Caruso's voice had conquered everyone's heart.

Umberto Giordano, composer of Fedora; the performance was conducted by the composer, who recalls the response to the aria Amor ti vieta.

Three years later - on the 15th of March 1895 - Caruso had his debut as an opera singer at a small theater in Napoli. The following two years he sung at various theaters in the south of Italy. In the summer of 1897 Giacomo Puccini was looking for a lead tenor for "'La Bohéme" in Livorno. Caruso auditioned for the role and Puccini was so impressed with the voice of young Caruso that he allegedly mumbled "Who sent you to me? God Himself?"

National acclaim came in 1898 when he created the role of Loris in Umberto Giordano's "Fedora". His debut at the noted La Scala in Milan was in "La Bohéme" in 1900. In 1902 he sang with Nellie Melba at Monte Carlo and then at London's Covent Garden, in Rome and Lisbon, and in South America.

Caruso's first record contract (with The Gramophone and Typewriter Company) was signed in April 1902. 10 arias were recorded at the Grand Hotel i Milano (within 2 hours...). Caruso was paid 10 pounds for each aria. They were released in May 1902 when Caruso made his debut at the Covent Garden Opera in Verdi's "Rigoletto".

With the help of the banker Pasquale Simonelli he travelled to New York in 1903 where he had his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in November the same year. For the next 16 seasons at the MET he had a total of 607 performances in 37 different operas.

Click above to listen to:
"La mia canzone"
(Song in Italian - Tosti, Paolo)
• Recorded 07-01-1915 •
More information here

Random Quote (view all here)

Richard Tauber:

"I treasure Caruso's records as the greatest and finest lesson any singer could possibly have. None of us living tenors could possibly stand any comparison with that voice. It makes me realise how little I have achieved." [From Richard Tauber, by Diana Napier Tauber, London 1949, page 61-2] On 28 May 1938, the eve of sailing from Naples for his Australian tour, Tauber visited Caruso's Mausoleum to pay his respects to the great tenor.