Enrico Caruso was born at Naples February 25, 1873 and died August 2, 1921 in Naples at age 48.
He was originally apprenticed to a mechanic, and while his mother was living he stuck to his trade, at the same time singing for his own edification.
He earned his first salary as a singer in a church choir at 20 cents a Sunday.
On the death of his mother he gave up his mechanical studies, against his father’s will, and earned a living as best he could by his voice.
He had very few lessons, though Vergine taught him for a time, until he was called out for military service.
He made his operatic debut at the Teatro Nuovo, Naples, without a great success, however, and it was not until he appeared in Milan at the Teatro Liroco, in 1898, that he achieved anything of a reputation.
He was next heard in South America, where he at once became a great favorite.
A success in Puccini’s La Boheme followed, and he was then offered a London engagement.
His success at Covent Garden was a triumph, which he duplicated on his first appearance in New York in 1905.
He was with the Metropolitan Company in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake.
Caruso held a unique position among operatic singers. It may be said, in fact, that with many people to go to the opera means to go to hear Caruso.
He was best with Italian Opera of the modern kind of his time, such as Madama Butterfly and La Boheme.
He would have been much out of place in Wagner or Strauss opera.