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:
"La Campana di San Giusto (The Bells of San Giusto) "
(Song in Italian - Arona, Columbo)
• Recorded 06-01-1919 •
More information here

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A lovely comment posted by Candy on YouTube:

"Enrico Caruso could take a menu from an Italian restaurant, sing a description of a rigatoni dish, and make it sound like a timeless love song! To hear the words and emotions resonate in his unique voice with its rich, golden sound and vibrant texture is captivating beyond words. His phrasing is unlike any other singer and the sincerity and courageous vulnerability of his singing makes for an ecstatic listening experience."