ENRICO CARUSO

ENRICO CARUSO

viernes, 23 de mayo de 2014

saber mas de Enrico Caruso


He started his professional career in Caserta in 1895 and for the next few years sang in the provinces and in various secondary operas in Naples—but not at San Carlo, which was strictly for stars. Playing in the Campania outback in those days was rough. During one performance of Faust, in Caserta, the appearance of the "devil" on stage so terrified the peasant audience that they shouted the performance to a close and chased Caruso and the whole company off the stage and through the streets with sticks and brickbats! Caruso traveled abroad to Egypt, South America, and even Russia slowly building his reputation. His "break" in Italy came in 1900 in Milan at La Scala, by then the opera house in the world. He was a success. Then Caruso did something he had always wanted to do: he came back to Naples to 'wow' the hometown crowd at San Carlo. He undoubtedly envisioned coming home in triumph, and if the public had had their way, maybe he would have. Caruso, however, had neglected to butter up the right music critics with invitations and tickets. Add to this the fact that his choice to go to Milan first and then come south was seen by some as an affront to Naples, only recently, and reluctantly, part of a unified Italy. It had all the makings for a hostile reception —and it was, at least on the part of the critics. So, although the public was generally receptive to Caruso, the critics in the local papers panned him, saying his voice was a hybrid of tenor and baritone, and that, dramatically, he was uncouth. He sang in Naples in the winter of 1901/02 and then left, bitterly disappointed, saying he would return to Naples only "to see my mother and eat vermicelli alle vongole." He kept his word and never sang again in the city of his birth. Whenever he came home to visit, instead of giving a benefit performance for the poor, he would simply donate to charity more money than even one of his performances would have brought in. [For more on Caruso's critic and the offending review, see the item below this one.] Caruso was a generous, highly idiosyncratic, superstitious man. He refused to travel on certain days of the week, or without consulting his astrologer; he used home remedies for his vocal cords such as garlic and ether spray, much to the dismay of his singing coaches; he smoked, drank and ate to excess; and downed a large glass of whiskey before going out on the stage for his opening number at each performance. One of the strangest stories about him is that, though caught in the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and terrified like everyone else, he managed to calm down enough to start singing in the corridors of his hotel. This free performance by the Great Caruso had a calming influence amidst all the confusion going on around him. From 1903 until his death, his home was the Metropolitan Opera in New York, during which time he sang 622 leading roles. (That works out to 37 major performances each season —phenomenal by today's standards!) His stamina and vocal powers were legendary. On a few occasions, his natural baritone register and perhaps his teenage experience as substitute serenader came to the company's rescue, as Caruso would stand behind a set and sing a baritone aria while the baritone, himself, with a headcold or hangover, would move his lips and fake it! Caruso is at least partially responsible for the great popularity of the Neapolitan Song abroad, as he would often include songs such as 'O sole mio or Santa Lucia as encores after the opera at the Met. (This practice of operatic tenors, Italian or otherwise, singing Neapolitan Songs survives to this day; witness The Three Tenors.) As a Neapolitan in America, his presence worked magic in the lives of the entire community of his fellow "immigrants". Here was one who had made it, and through him their own lives gained that much more hope for the future. Caruso's life combined poverty, incredible hard work, determination and, ultimately, fame and wealth. He was a gifted artist, as well, and enjoyed drawing caricatures of himself in various operatic poses. Indeed, his life, itself, was a caricature of The Artist as Fatalist Disdainer of Caution. He chose, instead, to ride his great talent as fast and as far as it would take him. He died in Naples at the age of 48.