The Great Enrico Caruso


Considered the greatest operatic tenor that ever lived, Enrico Caruso’s life had humble beginnings in Naples, Italy where he was born on February 25, 1873. Enrico Caruso began his singing career in the town of his birth in 1894, and his first major role was in “Fedora” (1898). In 1904 Enrico Caruso began his association with the “Victor Talking Company” (later RCA Victor) and The Metropolitan Opera House, which would last until 1920. He starred in many of the great Italian operas often under the conductorship of Arturo Toscanini. Enrico Caruso was, without a doubt, the most popular singing star of any genre in the first twenty years of the last century and his recording of “Pagliacci” was the first gramophone record to sell a million copies.

Success, Wealth And Fame

Although he appeared in opera houses in Europe, particularly in England and La Scala in Milan, Enrico Caruso was the greatest superstar of the Metropolitan Opera House from the time of his debut in “Rigoletto” (1903) to his last performance in “La Juive” on Christmas Eve, 1920. In his lifetime, he made almost 260 78rpm recordings and made millions of dollars, being the first recording artist to do so.

Enrico Caruso was in San Francisco on April 18,1906, the day of its terrible earthquake. He kept his promise that he would never return to that city. Frequently cast opposite Geraldine Farrar at the Metropolitan, the two of them together were the biggest box office draw of the first two decades of the twentieth century. There is no question that Enrico Caruso single-handedly jump-started the American recording industry.

The world lost its greatest tenor on August 2, 1921, when, at the age of 47, Enrico Caruso died of pleurisy, leaving behind a wife (Dorothy Benjamin) and three children (two by a former relationship).

Enrico Caruso’s many recordings continue to sell to this day almost one hundred years after they were recorded.