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Enrico Caruso was an Italian tenor, born in Naples, Italy. He sang at the major opera houses of Europe and North and South America. Caruso made approximately 290 commercially released recordings from 1902 to 1920.  His 1904 recording of Vesti la giubba was the first sound recording to sell a million copies.

Caruso was one year older than Lucia Colosi. Lucia’s mother was an opera singer in Italy during the late 1800s. Caruso began his career in 1895 when Lucia Colosi was 23 years old.

Caruso had 863 appearances at the New York Metropolitan Opera. The New York City opera house had been newly rebuilt in 1903 after a fire destroyed the first one.  It was located at 1411 Broadway, about 20 blocks north and 7 blocks west of where Lucia Colosi and her family lived.

Caruso had embraced the new technology of the phonograph, while many of the other opera singers rejected it. But after learning of Caruso’s financial gain from his recordings, they changed their minds. Caruso made more than 260 recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company from 1904 to 1920, and earned millions of dollars in royalties from the retail sales of the resulting 78-rpm discs. In 1918, Caruso appeared in a dual role in the American silent film My Cousin for Paramount Pictures.

Caruso sang at several well-known opera houses including La Scala in Milan, Italy; the Royal Opera House in London; the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia; and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He also was the leading tenor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City for 18 consecutive seasons.

Caruso’s voice extended up to high C in its prime and grew in power and weight as he grew older. Caruso died from an infection at the age of 48.

NOTE: Check out the video clip I placed in the sidebar. The video features Enrico Caruso singing “La donna e Mobile” from about 1908 and includes clips of films taken in New York City dating from 1898 to 1906.

Enrico Caruso was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. On February 27 of that same year, the United States Postal Service issued a 22-cent postage stamp in his honor.
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