Enrico Caruso born 25 February 1873 (died 2 August 1921)
The great operatic Napolitano was one of the first tenors to ‘cut a disc’ and it made him world famous. Even now you can divine his strong, clear voice and range on scratchy phonograph records (see below). Although primarily based at the Met in New York, he sang all over and had a big repertoire (including Lohengrin in Buenos Aires).
Melba wrote of him: “As a voice – pure and simple – his was the most wonderful tenor I ever heard.”
Toscanini, it is said, said of him: “If this Neapolitan keeps singing like this, the whole world will have to listen to him.”
Here, courtesy of Roger York, is Caruso singing that great feminist tract, “La donna è mobile” from Rigoletto: