Enrico Caruso

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Enrico Caruso (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.

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Historical and musical significance

Caruso's 25-year career, stretching from 1895 to 1920, included 863 appearances at the New York Metropolitan Opera before he died from an infection at the age of 48. His fame has lasted to the present day despite the limited marketing and promotional vehicles available during Caruso's era. (He was, nonetheless, a client of Edward Bernays, during the latter's tenure as a press agent in the United States.)[1] Publicity in Caruso's time relied on newspapers, particularly wire services, along with magazines, photography and relatively instantaneous communication via the telephone and the telegraph, to spread a message and raise a performer's profile.

Caruso biographers Pierre Key, Bruno Zirato and Stanley Jackson[2][3] attribute Caruso's fame not only to his voice and musicianship but also to a keen business sense and an enthusiastic embrace of commercial sound recording, then in its infancy. Many opera singers of Caruso's time rejected the phonograph (or gramophone) due to the low fidelity of early discs. Others, including Adelina Patti, Francesco Tamagno and Nellie Melba, exploited the new technology once they became aware of the financial returns that Caruso was reaping from his initial recording sessions.[4]

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