Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Enrico Caruso

“Emmy Stowell helped me and we pulled our beans this forenoon and I drew them in this afternoon and brought down some corn for the pigs.”


Enrico Caruso (Italian pronunciation: (February 25, 1873 – August 2, 1921) was an Italian tenor. He sang to great acclaim at the major opera houses of Europe and North and South America, appearing in a wide variety of roles from the Italian and French repertoires that ranged from the lyric to the dramatic. Caruso also made approximately 290 commercially released recordings from 1902 to 1920. All of these recordings, which span most of his stage career, are available today on CDs and as digital downloads.
Caruso's 1904 recording of Vesti la giubba was the first sound recording to sell a million copies.
 On September 16, 1920, Caruso attended Victor's prime recording venue, Trinity Church, at Camden, New Jersey, for the final time. He recorded several discs over three days, including the "Domine Deus" and "Crucifixus" from the Petite Messe Solennelle by Rossini. These discs were to be his last.
During a performance of L'elisir d'amore by Donizetti at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on December 11, 1920, he suffered a throat haemorrhage and the performance was canceled at the end of Act 1. Following this incident, a clearly unwell Caruso gave only three more performances at the Met, the final one being as Eléazar in Halévy's La Juive, on December 24, 1920. (Also appearing that night was the Australian coloratura soprano, Evelyn Scotney, who had sung with Caruso a number of times.) By Christmas day, the pain in his side was so excruciating that he was screaming. Dorothy summoned the hotel physician, who gave Caruso some morphine and codeine and called in another doctor, Evan M. Evans. Evans brought in three other doctors and Caruso was finally correctly diagnosed with purulent pleurisy and empyema.
Caruso's health deteriorated further during the new year. He experienced episodes of intense pain because of the infection and underwent seven surgical procedures to drain fluid from his chest and lungs. He returned to Naples to recuperate from the most serious of the operations, during which part of a rib had been removed. According to Dorothy Caruso, he seemed to be recovering, but allowed himself to be examined by an unhygienic local doctor and his condition worsened dramatically after that. The Bastianelli brothers, eminent medical practitioners with a clinic in Rome, recommended that his left kidney be removed. He was on his way to Rome to see them but, while staying overnight in the Vesuvio Hotel in Naples, he took an alarming turn for the worse and was given morphine to help him sleep.
Caruso died at the hotel a few minutes after 9:00 am local time, on August 2, 1921. He was 48. The Bastianellis attributed the likely cause of death to peritonitis arising from a burst subrenal abscess. The King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, opened the Royal Basilica of the Church of San Francesco di Paola for Caruso's funeral, which was attended by thousands of people. His embalmed body was preserved in a glass sarcophagus at Del Pianto Cemetery in Naples for mourners to view. In 1929, Dorothy Caruso had his remains sealed permanently in an ornate stone tomb.



Enrico Caruso in the role of Dick Johnson, 1910/1911

Leesah

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