Enrico Caruso

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Caruso, Enrico

(kəro͞o`sō, Ital. änrē`kō käro͞o`zō), 1873–1921, Italian operatic tenor, b. Naples. The natural beauty, range, and power of his voice made him one of the greatest singers in the history of opera. He studied for three years with Guglielmo Vergine and made his operatic debut in Naples in 1894. His first major success came in London in 1902, and he achieved even greater triumph with his American debut in 1903 at the Metropolitan Opera as the duke in Rigoletto. He remained the reigning favorite at the Metropolitan until a short time before his death (from pleurisy). He sang more than 50 roles in Italian and French operas, such as La Traviata, Aida, La Bohème, Tosca, and Carmen. After his death his recordings perpetuated his fame.


See biographies by D. P. B. Caruso (new ed. 1963) and S. Jackson (1972).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Caruso, Enrico


Born Feb. 24 (other sources give 25 or 27), 1873, in Naples; died there Aug. 2, 1921. Italian singer (tenor).

In his youth Caruso sang in a church choir and from 1891 studied under G. Vergine. He made his debut in 1894 at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples. He toured Italy between 1895 and 1898 and in 1900–01 sang at La Scala in Milan. Caruso was a leading soloist at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York (1903–20), toured triumphantly from 1898 in many countries (Russia, 1898 and 1900), and performed yearly in Italy.

Caruso was one of the most admired opera singers in the world; his voice, with an extraordinary range, beautiful timbre, and unusual strength, abounded in warmth of feeling. His brilliant acting and strength and passion in singing enabled Caruso to perform a range of tenor roles from lyric to tragic. His best parts were the Duke, Manrico, and Radamès in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and Aida; Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore; Faust in Boito’s Mefistofele; Canio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci; Turiddu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana; Rudolfo, Cavaradossi, and Des Grieux in Puccini’s La Bohème, Tosca, and Manon Lescaut; Don José in Bizet’s Carmen; Eleazar in Halévy’s La Juive; and Lionel in Flotow’s Martha. Caruso performed Neapolitan songs with exceptional fervor.


“Kak nuzhno pet’.” TeatraVnaia gazeta, 1914, nos. 16–18.


L’vov, M. “E. Karuzo.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1955, no. 1, pp. 98–100.
Tortorelli, V. E. Karuzo. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from Italian.)
Fucito, S., and B. J. Beyer. Iskusstvo peniia i vokaVnaia metodika E. Karuzo, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1967. (Translated from German.)
Daspuro, N. E. Caruso. [Milan] 1938.
Mouchon, J.-P. Enrico Caruso: Sa Vie et sa voix. Langres, 1966.
Lauri-Volpi, G. Voci parallele. Milan, 1955. (In Russian translation: VokaVnye paralleli. Leningrad, 1972. Pages 158–169.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Caruso, Enrico (1873–1921)

world’s most celebrated tenor. [Opera Hist.: NCE, 469]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.