Mr Enrico Caruso
1873 To 2nd August 1921
Enrico Caruso was born in Naples, Italy on February 2nd 1873. His family lived in a high-rise apartment building in a working class area of Naples. His was the eighteenth pregnancy out of twenty-one that his mother had suffered. Owing to an epidemic of cholera he was the only child to live past infancy. Enrico had a wonderful voice that gave his mother great pleasure as she listened to him. Often he would sing just for her. By the age of ten a pianist by the name of Ernesto Schiradi offered to give the child lessons to help train his voice, at the time Enrico wanted to concentrate more on his drawing, a subject he loved more than anything. As he got older he began to avoid going to school, as soon as his father discovered this he made the child start work at the factory where he was employed. He continued his coaching lessons in the evening. When he was fifteen Enricos mother died, he was sure that without her encouragement he would never sing again. But after his father remarried just five months later, he was surprised by how quickly he and his new stepmother bonded. She encouraged him to continue singing. In 1890 he began singing in the waterfront cafes where he came to the attention of many people. When he was twenty one he made his operatic debut. This was sharply interrupted by his call up to do his three year National Service. But after his commanding officer intervened he was allowed to leave after only two months. He returned to Naples, but within a year he played at Caserta, this was followed by Milan at the Opera Lirico. In 1903 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera. He travelled to America in 1906 to appear in Carmen at the Mission Opera House in San Francisco. During his performance, there were a few rumblings; within hours of him finishing the great Earthquake of 1906 had hit San Francisco. Although this experience unnerved him he did not allow it to stop him travelling wherever he was invited to perform. New York, London, Russia In August 1920, Enrico began to suffer from bad health, although he tried to hide it from his family and friends. This, he managed until the evening of December 8th. After performing in I Pagliacci he stumbled from the stage, where he collapsed into the arms of his secretary Bruno Zirato. He carried the unconscious singer back to his dressing room. After he recovered, he refused to withdraw from any performances; three nights later he began to bleed heavily from his mouth, during the love duet in L
The magic of your voice can reach the darkest of souls. Like a light guiding the lost and the lonely. You enchanted our souls, and reached into our hearts. Your talent will never be equalled.
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