Talk:Enrico Caruso

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Caruso and Otello[edit]

I've removed the statement that Caruso was preparing to sing Verdi's "Otello" at the Met during the 1921-22 season. Although a few books state that Caruso was to sing, or probably one day would sing the role of Otello, not one of these has ever cited a definite source for this information. I've studied Caruso extensively for the last forty years and have found no contemporary document (such as a letter written by Caruso or a reminiscence of any of Caruso's contemporaries) that corroborates the story. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.21.88.199 (talk) 23:09, 24 July 2013

I think you are right to remove the comment re Otello. The ref used was weak and doing a Google search i couldn't find anything specific either. Interestingly, in 1907 Caruso is quoted in a New York Times article saying that he had been studying the role along with that of Manrico. There's another NYT article around the same time that lists Caruso's Otello as part of the upcoming Met season (1907-08, I think but I can't remember for sure now). Of course that never happened, not in that or any subsequent season. It would be very interesting to know the story behind those mentions. More info on this topic would be most welcome. BTW, please remember to sign your Talk posts by entering the four tildes sign at the end of your message. And also try to remember to explain your edits, especially deletions, by entering the reason in the "Edit Summary" box. Saves time and confusion. Best, Markhh (talk) 20:47, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
It was Francis Robinson (Caruso - A life in Pictures) over thirty years at the MET also as assistant manager who stated that the 1922/23 season opening of the Metropolitan Opera was planned with Enrico Caruso in Otello. Unfortunately Caruso died in august 1921. Franco Bastiano — Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.129.191.77 (talkcontribs)

Untitled[edit]

Caruso received the highest ever paid opera fee of 15.000 $ for a single performance in Mexico-City in 1919, which would match with roundabout 195.000 $ of today!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.184.125.61 (talk) 14:02, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Birthdate[edit]

Enrico Caruso is probably born on February 25 and not 27, as given in many reference books (See: allmusic.com) - Puck 13:08, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

None of the sources I have seen ever give the "sources" of either February 25th or 27th. Neither does allmusic.com. What is the reason to believe Feb 25th and not 27th?

Enrico Caruso, originally Errico, was born Febr. 25th 1873 and baptazied the following day Febr. 26th in the church next to his birthplace.

Franco Bastiano Voice agent —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.184.97.92 (talk) 10:37, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

The officials of Naples confirm that Enrico Caruso was born on february 25th 1873 an baptized the following day. The ENRICO CARUSO MUSEUM OF AMERICA in Brooklyn is in possession of a copy of Carusos parochial record. There clearly can be seen that he was baptized on february 26th 1873. So it is impossible that he was born february 27th. Get in touch with Cavaliere Ufficiale Aldo Mancusi --- Pres. Founder and Curator of the Enrico Caruso Museum of America. Franco Bastiano — Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.184.59.125 (talk) 19:30, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
This no longer in dispute. Look at the article. It states the facts as you have indicated. Markhh (talk) 02:52, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Earthquake[edit]

Would it be relevant to mention that he performed in San Francisco the night before and became a survivor of the great quake?

Improvement[edit]

I am starting an improvement drive for this article. I will nominate it for collaboration of the week.

Capitalistroadster 10:38, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

To that end, let me add 2 things: he opened at the Met 17 times, a record only broken by Domingo, & he was the first recording artist (on wax, no less!). Trekphiler 19:34, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
      • easy record that: Caruso died with 48, Domingo is 75 not 68. Caruso sang 863 times at the Met within 17 years, Domingo 631 times within 43 years. By the way Domingo suffers from a Caruso-Neurosis. He will never reach the greatest tenor and singer of all times. Xavier Madrid —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.184.83.88 (talk) 10:50, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Caruso was the first opera tenor who appeared in a large stadium. That was when he sang Radames in Aida on 2nd November 1919 in the bullfight arena of Mexico-city in front of 25.000!!! people. The success was of that kind that the world press turned upside down and the excitement held on half the night. So Caruso sang in a stadium long before the so called three tenors did. And what they offered was rather mediocre. JDT


Seeing as how his career started in 1894, some seven years after commercial recording began, it's unlikely that he could possibly be "the first recording artist". In fact, he first recorded in 1902, which much postdates all sorts of artists. Is there a Billy Murray article?24.22.172.60 06:12, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, Billy Murray (singer). -- Infrogmation 16:25, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Unsourced quotes[edit]

These 2 quotes were recently added - anyoen have a source?

  • He was initially reluctant to become a professional singer. When asked why he replied that he knew many tenors and they were all starving.
I have read numerous books and articles on Caruso and never heard this even as a legend or rumor. --Bluejay Young (talk) 07:11, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Pure nonsense. Caruso did not want to be anything else but an operasinger from that moment at sixteen when he took lessons with Guglielmo Vergine renowned neapolitan teacher. --87.184.45.21 (talk) 06:08 14 May 2010
  • He was a collegue and friend of the Irish tenor John McCormack. One day when they met by chance in a shop he asked McCormack "How is the greatest tenor in the world today?" McCormack replied that he must be referring to himself.

-AKeen 20:07, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

I know a different story about this subject. Apparently, it was McCormack who asked Caruso "How is the greatest tenor in the world today?", and Caruso answered with a question: "Since when have you retired?" --MPM43 (talk) 05:01, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Or "Since when did you become a baritone?" --Bluejay Young (talk) 07:11, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Haunting in Oklahoma[edit]

http://www.ghouli.com/GHOSTSTORY/HauntedOklahoma.htm

Enrico Caruso is said to haunt the Brady Theater in Tulsa, OK

  • * * * * *

the page linked above has disappeared, and defaults to another page related to ghosts, but not to Caruso.

our local legend is that Caruso performed at the Tulsa Municipal Auditorium (still standing, known as the Brady Theater, or, more fondly, the Old Lady on Brady). Afterwards, J. Paul Getty asked Caruso if he had ever seen an oil well. apparently, the weather was quite bitter, and Caruso caught cold, leading to the illness that sent him home to his deathbed. the link above may have referred to some people's belief that the ghost of Caruso may haunt the old theater. 63.165.44.53 (talk) 15:12, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Trivia[edit]

Certain recordings of his were predominantly used in Woody Allen's Match Point, an Academy Award-nominated thriller starring Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

I think this footnote to the main article belongs more properly in Trivia. Orbicle 09:27, 16 July 2006 (UTC)


Why did you put Daily Rotten? It's not a reliable source! ---Jack 23:27, 3 Feb 2007 (UTC)

high notes??[edit]

I consider it impossible that "Caruso must have had problems with very high notes"!
- The high C ("do di petto") is the trademark of every single opera piece, usually the highest dramatic moment in the developement of the story. Not a "very high note", therefore, but simply what a tenor is expected to achieve.
- Caruso has been the most famous tenor in history...the supposedly incapability of yielding a good high C would have no doubt condemned him to eternal oblivion.
- Instead: he had an incredibly versatile voice, powerful and flexible, and I have personally heard many of his recordings with a full, powerful "do di petto" that did not show any incertaincy.
- I think the distortion to B might have been because of other constraints, or for technical reasons. And the choice of doing one falsetto (in an opera that I don't know, so I'm guessing) could be an artistical decision.

According to this source [[1]] it seems he may have had trouble with high notes early in his career, but that he resolved them around the time he gained fame. --Chapuisat 21:24, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Caruso had a certain high C. His distortion to b was so perfect on rare nights when his voice was not in top form which happens to every singer, that almost nobody could tell the difference. Those who heard him say that his singing was in every way overwhelming and to compare to the dimensions of an organ. By the way Domingo never had a certain high c.


      • You obviously are no expert and never really listend to his roundabout 260 recordings. All of them are available.My grandfather heard Caruso twice as Radames in Aida at the MET. That role asks for 26 high B's and a handful of high C's. It was one of Carusos most successful parts. My grandfather was so overwhelmed, that he could not sleep all night after hearing Caruso. He said: I thought I had dreamt and therefore I went once more to hear him in this role within a month. He told me that Carusos high C's were clarionlike and not to compare to any other singer. He never forgot those performances all his life.

Jan de Turovski opera voice agent


—Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.184.89.237 (talk) 14:23, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Wow![edit]

Nothing about the time the Teatro Nacional in Cuba was bombed during Caruso's performance? Murderbike (talk) 22:36, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Caruso arrived two days after the incident to make his debut. The rest is a fairytale. Jan de Turovski —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.184.45.21 (talk) 14:21, 13 May 2011 (UTC)


Jussi Björling less robust and golden-toned than Caruso?[edit]

The statement that Jussi Björling's voice was "less robust and golden-toned than Caruso's" seems very POV to me. Could somebody explain this to me? Jussi's recording sure sound pretty robust and golden-toned to me... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.151.192.10 (talk) 13:21, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

The comparation of Caruso and Björling was always a product of anglosaxon audiences, among them his widow, who wanted, as many others, stablish Björling as "only of principal Caruso's heir". Latin audiences, even admiring Jussi for all his qualities, generaly thought that nothing more different than the singing of those tenors, most of all in the inerpretative field. Björling was a great failure as an interpreter of italian opera and Caruso one of its greatest ones. With this only point, the comparation falls. --MPM43 (talk) 05:26, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Martha by Flotow[edit]

He first sang in this opera in 1906. How often did he appear in it afterwards? I'm asking because we say in the Martha article that it was popular till around the turn of the 20th century. That would fit if Caruso and others didn't sing it much past 1906. But Caruso didn't die till 1921. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:14, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

That info is or should be in Pierre Key's book. If I remember right, he did quite a few Marthas. (And woops, that was me, sometime in May 09 -- --Bluejay Young (talk) 19:52, 30 May 2009 (UTC))
Thanks. I don't know Key's book, but if anyone has access to it, they might advise the details. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:31, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Caruso sang Martha throughout his career at the Met. 41 performances from 1906 to 1920. Martha continued to be performed at the Met through the 1920s. See the Met Opera Database for details. A 1906 review in the database suggests that the 1906 revival constituted a return to favor for the opera which had previously fallen out of the repertoire. Markhh (talk) 22:41, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Belated thanks. -- Jack of Oz (Speak!) 12:07, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
And here's Pierre Key's entire book online for future reference. Enrico Caruso, A Biography by Pierre Key --Bluejay Young (talk) 19:39, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Did he ever sing Verdi's Requiem?[edit]

He doesn't appear to have recorded any of it, but I'd be interested to know if he ever sang in it. -- JackofOz (talk) 11:05, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Caruso recorded the "Ingemisco" from the Verdi Requiem on 7 January 1915. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.134.85.172 (talk) 06:44, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Excellent, thanks. Can you tell me where you got that info from - because I couldn't find it anywhere. -- JackofOz (talk) 05:03, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
See yahoo music which has a sample part of complete caruso:

The Complete Caruso: Including The Original Victor Talking Machine Co. Master Recordings ... http://music.yahoo.com/track/29836451 /s/ Lil Caruso, "and he sings to the people" , EF 76.194.81.120 (talk) 12:49, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Thank you. I must get a copy of it. -- JackofOz (talk) 05:15, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Incidental information[edit]

Suggest that this vague catchall category be deleted and the information moved into the main article where appropriate. Markhh (talk) 04:06, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Introduction[edit]

Suggest this article seems top heavy and out of balance. The intro seems far too long for the length of the total article. It should only summarize the main points of interest. Consider shortening intro and adding the other content to the main article. Markhh (talk) 04:43, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

its ok, as long as intro has full content
many articles r like that on wikipedia totally lowly! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.107.1.187 (talk) 21:41, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
interesting article Photo Standalone 2 -- No Title

Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963); Sep 4, 1921; Chicago Tribune (1849 - 1986) pg. C8

204, thanx for restoring what vandal markhh removed! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 192.148.105.4 (talk) 00:15, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

NPOV[edit]

This article needs some good housekeeping when it comes to non-verifiable, subjective statements. Phrases like "tremendous international renown", "extraordinary voice", and "unequaled richness" do not belong in an encyclopedia. Toscaesque (talk) 21:29, 27 July 2009 (UTC)


Yah?Well why don't you clean out all that language? Stop leaving it to everyone else to do! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.89.66.135 (talk) 03:12, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm removing the tag, which has now been there four months. The claim is not an NPOV issue anyway. Few would disagree on the substance of the claims or say they are an effort to bias the encyclopedia. Rather it is a matter of encyclopedic language and tone. - Wikidemon (talk) 19:05, 27 November 2009 (UTC)


Black Hand[edit]

No mention of the threats to his life (or voice by poisoning him with lye)? --MartinezMD (talk) 01:04, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Nothing mentioned in 7 years? I added a section with references. MartinezMD (talk) 17:04, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Online sources[edit]

Enrico Caruso at archive.org

Dorothy Caruso's biography used to be on archive.org also, but apparently someone renewed the copyright. I have PDFs from when it was free, if anyone is interested. --Bluejay Young (talk) 19:42, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Sound film myth[edit]

I have removed the unreferenced and false statement that Caruso made an experimental sound film for Edison. The Lucia sextette film it referred to was made in 1908 in France by Georges Mendel and features actors miming to a playback of the commercial Victor record, a copy of which was played synchronously when the finished film was projected. A clip from the film, and in some cases all of it, has been included in various documentaries and video compilations and it has become a common source of confusion, especially as the "Caruso" bears a very passable resemblance to the tenor in his mustachioed years. See this Silent Era site item [2] for confirmation.

Caruso and Edison would certainly not have gotten together. In addition to being very much opposed to the star system and employing expensive "name" talent, Edison had a pathological aversion to any vibrato in voices or instruments. He had violinists who recorded for him play with a straight tone and searched far and wide for singers without the "terrible tremolo" that made Caruso, Ruffo and all the other "awful" singers he believed a gullible public had been hyped into praising anathema to him.

There is a plausible story about Caruso almost making an experimental sound film for another inventor in or around 1911, which apparently in the telling and retelling has become confused not only with the Mendel film but also with Edison's early experimental Kinetophone tests of similar date. I can't recall the name of the inventor or of his system offhand. My principal source is a respectable thick hardcover book published in the 1970s, but it is now in my mental reference library only and must also remain nameless here for the present. The upshot of the affair was that Caruso soon realized the sound recording involved would violate his exclusive contract with Victor and therefore nixed the plan, so no such film was ever made.

The nearest thing to a non-CGI Caruso "talkie" that we are ever going to see was created by matching up silent footage of him singing Vesti la giubba in My Cousin with one of his recordings of the aria. I haven't seen them myself, but I am given to understand that at least two attempts at this challenging editing task have been made, one with very rough results, the other more successful. Possibly available somewhere in Youtubeland. AVarchaeologist (talk) 05:16, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Million selling record[edit]

I just deleted the unsourced statement that Caruso's 1907 recording of Vesti la giubba was the first record to sell a million copies. This had replaced an earlier edit, with reference, that said it was the 1904 recording of Caruso singing the aria that set the record. Rather than correct or add a source I deleted the whole thing because it seems to be more complicated than either version would suggest. If you do a Google search you will find multiple references claiming that each of Caruso's three recordings of Vesti (1902, 1904, and 1907) was the record-setting disc. However, a reference called the Guiness Book of Records presents yet a fourth option: They say that all of Caruso's recordings of Vesti la Giubba combined made the record for for the first piece of music to sell a million copies. They go on to say that Alma Gluck's "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" was the first "single record" to achieve sales of more than a million copies. Since there seems to be no clear consensus I thought it best to delete the claim all together until someone could do more careful research and spell out the accurate story with reliable sources (preferably more than one or two). Cheers, Markhh (talk) 03:45, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Hear, hear, and thank you, Markhh. A scholarly article entitled The Myth of the Million-Seller or something similar, once freely available online but now apparently not, tackled the overall subject of its title in some depth and, to my mind, very persuasively. Some relevant points from that article and several other sources:
  • In the early decades of the 20th century, record companies treated their sales figures as very confidential information, company secrets that were not explicitly reported to the press and public for publicity purposes -- completely unlike standard practice in the era of Top 40 radio and photo-op gold record presentation ceremonies. An accounting of historical Victor-RCA Victor sales figures first saw the light of day when it was dragged kicking and screaming into open court in a legal proceeding sometime around 1940, and they were only year-by-year total sales for a few major categories, not numbers for individual titles or artists. The surprisingly modest total of Red Seal sales in any given year was the tail of the dog. They were a very pricey luxury product.
  • There was no "Billboard 100" or other sales chart or anything remotely similar in 1910 or 1920 or 1930, despite increasingly common present-day statements about such-and-such a 1927 recording "charting at #7" or the like, which seem to clearly indicate otherwise. The "charts" being referred to are retroactive ones created many decades later, based on ... what? Sheet music sales? Tea leaf readings and necromancy? No one seems to know. Access to surviving corporate archives has provided recent researchers with actual per-title quantity information for some periods of Victor production, but there are huge gaps. The archives of most other companies long ago became landfill, so their numbers cannot have been the basis for these conjured-up "charts" of pre-WWII era record sales.
  • There is a very strong tendency to aggrandizement and multiplication when pre-WWII million-seller claims appear in print. As the game of "telephone" plays out over even two or three generations of books and magazine articles, 785,000 gets rounded up to a million, then the million becomes "millions", etc.
Caruso got paid a royalty of 25 cents per 10-inch record and 50 cents per 12-inch record (both were at 50 cents for a few years early on). The total he received from Victor during his lifetime is not burned into my memory and I don't have the time to track it down now, but that figure is stated in quite a few sources. Do the arithmetic to estimate the total number of records it represents, then figure out what percentage would all have to be "Vesti la giubba" if that title accounted for one million of the total, then see if the ratio of "Vesti la giubba" to "other" looks reasonably plausible. My guess is that it will not. AVarchaeologist (talk) 22:34, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Wow! fascinating. Thanks so much Markhh (talk) 05:37, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
You're very welcome.
It seems I simply didn't squeeze the Wayback Machine hard enough. The last few years of its "snapshots" only bring up "not found" messages, but the eye-opening article, actually entitled The "Million-Seller" Fallacy: A Reappraisal of 1920s Record Sales, by Alan Sutton of Mainspring Press, is in fact currently available there in its 2008 and earlier revisions [3]. The enlightening 1901-1941 Victor sales table is also from the Mainspring Press site and still available direct [4].
My information about Caruso's Victor contracts and royalty arrangements was gleaned from pages 358-359 et al of My Father, Enrico Caruso by E.C. Jr., which is partially accessible via Google Books. Junior quotes Fred Gaisberg's claim (noted citation not available, but presumably it is Gaisberg's autobiography The Music Goes Round) that "Caruso would earn close to $5,000,000 in the next twenty years" (i.e., after the Milan sessions, so 1902-1922), but in keeping with the era of its publication Gaisberg's book places greater importance on good story-telling than on scholarly accuracy and his numbers are questionable. On page 291 of Enrico Caruso: a Biography by Key and Zirato (1922, public domain, available complete at archive.org), $2,225,000 is stated as the total of royalties received up to 1922, including a phenomenal $400,000 from the industry boom year (and Caruso memorial year) of 1921 alone.
Using the Key-Zirato number and averaging the royalty high at 45 cents per disc (12-inch Caruso records being several times more common than 10-inch ones), that works out to a total of about five million Caruso records, including ensemble recordings, sold during his lifetime and immediately afterward. Was at least one out of five of those records a pressing of Vesti la giubba? Not bloody likely, Mr. Guiness. AVarchaeologist (talk) 14:45, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
True, but based on what I run across while out junking, I'll bet at least one out of fifteen was. 78.26 (spin me / revolutions) 18:38, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
My own junking is now a thing of the ever-receding past but my experience accords with yours. Original-format sales of several hundred thousand copies would not surprise me. If sales figures for all the reissues on LP and CD are piled on, very probably the million mark has been passed, years ago, but that does not make it the "first million-seller". Records by Paul Whiteman, Ben Selvin and Vernon Dalhart are far stronger contenders for that trophy than any of Don Rico's.
Of course, the number-crunching above is a textbook example of Original Research, doomed to exile in talk page limbo as strictly background information unless something similar in citable form can be found, but I think it does suffice to raise the bar for inclusion of a definite "first" claim in the article to the "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof" level. A pedigree not traceable back to something far more solid than postwar press release puffery or LP liner notes does not meet that higher standard. I commend Markhh for Being Bold and giving this pop-culture factoid the boot. AVarchaeologist (talk) 04:34, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

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Errico?[edit]

I am removing the name since there is no source for it that I can see. Errico and Enrico are two completely diferent names. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 10:41, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

Big nonsense: Caruso was born and baptized as Errico, the neapoletan version of Enrico. His renowned teacher Guglielmo Vergine suggested that he would use the italian standard version of Enrico for the better sound. So he did. So on the main page after Enrico Caruso should be correctly added: originally Errico. His baptizing record can be seen in the Caruso Museum in New York where you can easily read Errico. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.212.174.30 (talk) 09:05, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

provide a link to a reliable source. That's how Wikipedia works. You can read WP:RS. MartinezMD (talk) 09:47, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
If Errico (Italian for Eric) in Neapolitan Italian dialect is the same name as Enrico (Italian for Henry) that also needs a source. So 2 sources are needed, one about that and another about Caruso having one name at birth and changing it later. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 19:24, 2 December 2019 (UTC)