2003 Focus on Italian Opera
Celebrating The Centennial Enrico Caruso's Debut in America
Italian American Tenor Nino Martini
in english | in italiano
Enrico Caruso Links:
Enrico Caruso Museum of America www.enricocarusomuseum.com
The Great Caruso Page www.thegreatcaruso.com
Caruso Page www.geocities.com
Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)
Enrico Caruso was born in Naples on February 27 1873 and died there on August 2 1921, aged forty-eight. He was the most famous tenor of his period. He appeared all over the world, and was one of the most important of the founders of the 'modern' school of tenor singing.
Caruso was born of poor parents, and first sang as a child in churches. He made his debut in 1894 in Morelli's "L'amico francesco" at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples. He continued to sing, in small theatres throughout southern Italy, and to study under the conductor Vincenzo Lombardi until 1897. In May of that year he appeared at Palermo in "La Gioconda", and achieved his first real success.
His coup came when auditioning for Puccini himself the summer of 1897 for a performance of La Boheme in Livorno; a baffled Puccini uttered the celebrated line "Who sent you to me? God himself?"
The foundations of his career were laid at appearances as in Buenos Aires,1899, his Rome debut in Mascagni's "Iris", and during the 1900-1901 season, when a relatively unsuccessful appearance at La Scala in "La boheme" was followed by a triumph in "L'elisir d'amore". Caruso sang in "L'elisir d'amore" at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, also in 1901, but after the controversial reception of this performance he vowed never to sing again in Naples, and he never did.
On May 14 1902 Caruso made his debut in "Rigoletto" with great success at Covent Garden, where he subsequently appeared from 1904 to 1907, and in 1913 and 1914. During those years he also sang in Spain, Germany, Austria, and France.
The theatre where he most often sang was the Metropolitan Opera in New York, He made his American debut in Rigoletto at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera on Nov. 23, 1903, and continued to open each season there for the next 17 years, presenting 36 roles in all. His last appearance in public was at the Metropolitan on December 24 1920. At the height of his career he fell ill with bronchial pneumonia which later developed into chronic pleurisy.