January 10, 2010

Enrico Caruso (1873 - 1921)

I started out in college as a vocal performance major.  I was developing into what is known as a "lyric tenor" and I took my study very seriously for several years.  Sometime during these years, my grandmother, seeing my obvious enthusiasm for the arts, particularly opera, gave me a 78 rpm Victrola record that she said had been one of her father's favorites.  It was a recording of the legendary tenor Enrico Caruso singing "La Campana di San Giusto" (The Chimes of San Giusto) in Italian on one side and "A Granada" (To Granada) in Spanish on the other side.  Caruso is considered to have influenced nearly every male opera singer who came after him and one listen to one of his recordings will tell you why.  (And, according to the photos below, he also seems to have been quite the dresser.)  Egyptian cigarettes and lack of exercise (while maintaining a grueling performance schedule) took his life relatively early.  Luckily, a then young recording industry was able to preserve the genius of this one-of-a-kind performer.

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