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CARUSO, Enrico.

[An Extensive Collection of Signed Caricatures and Ephemera by and relating to Enrico Caruso].

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Enrico Caruso, original name Enrico Caruso, (1873 —1921), the most admired Italian operatic tenor of the early 20th century and one of the first musicians to document his voice on gramophone recordings.

Caruso was born into a poor family, although he was a musical child who sang Neapolitan folk songs everywhere and joined his parish choir at the age of nine, he received no formal music training until his study with Guglielmo Vergine at age 18. Within three years, in 1894, he made his operatic debut, in Mario Morelli's L'Amico Francesco in Naples at the Teatro Nuovo. Four years later, after adding a number of impressive roles to his repertoire, he was asked to create the role of Loris in the premiere of Umberto Giordano's Fedora in Milan. He was a sensation and soon received engagements in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Buenos Aires. He made his La Scala debut with La

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22 original pencil and pen & ink caricatures, all signed, some dated. The subjects include several of himself and musical luminaries of the day including 12 characters from the opera, 'Salome' by Richard Strauss, in 1907.

A signed photograph of Caruso in costume as the Duke in Rigoletto.

A collection of approximately 25 Black & white photographs of Caruso, mostly portrayed in the costume of various operatic roles, some with other performers (some with wear and chipped edges).

Signed menu from the Hotel Knickerbocker, New York, January 1st, 1909 (some damage and loss to two corners).

Typed 'Copie' (sic) of contract dated 7th January, 1909, between Thomas Quinlin [Theatre Agent] and the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York, that 'Signor Enrico Caruso, tenor vocalist of the said Company shall sing in certain concerts in the United Kingdom in the months of August and September, 1909, upon the terms and conditions here in after stated......, 2pp., creased at extremities, rust-offsetting in margin of first page, not affecting text.

Typed copy of letter/contract dated 1909, addressed to Caruso at the Grand Hotel, Paris, written in French, from the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Metropolitan Opera Company detailing terms, conditions and remuneration for his engagements in Europe and America, single sheet, 2pp.

Three hand-written letters, the first two on the headed paper by Park Benjamin, Caruso's father-in-law to 'Vallentine', the first, dated August 27th 1918 states certain facts concerning Caruso's recent marriage (against his will), to his daughter, such as; 'Mr. Caruso asked my consent to an engagement and was refused in writing, for reason which I am certain would commend themselves to any parent. The Marriage was wholly clandestine...'. He continues to condemn the newspaper reportage, states that Caruso is 'forbidden' from entering his house and writes of his disgust at the whole business. The second letter, to the same recipient, dated September 3rd, is in response to Vallentine's request that he publish the previous letter in the Times, to which Benjamin says; 'Do not publish on any account'... etc., 'best not to add fuel to what now an exploding flame.' The third letter, not on headed paper, dated Sept. 6., in which Benjamin discusses the possibility of Caruso being a war 'slacker' given; 'He was 45 on Feb 25. last - but if the Times is correct....the draft liability does not terminate until the 46th birthday.

Hand-written letter on headed paper, from Caruso's son Enrico Jr., dated June 7th, 1971, to the Executive Director of RCA Records thanking him for the 'Caruso Album, released by R.C.A. France'. He proceeds to be a little disparaging about the bibliography; 'It is most interesting to note that so much has been said about Caruso by so many who know so little. However the Album is a beautifully designed tribute to the internationally acclaimed genius who was my Father.', 2 leaves.

Three editions of 'The Record Collector', 12mo., (18 x 12cm or 7 x 5 inches), October 1951, 240pp. Nov-Dec 1951, 288pp & January 1955, 196pp., the first two reviewing recordings by Caruso; pictorial wrappers, staple-bound, the second spine reinforced with tape, else good.


Stock ID:97201

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