The Greatest Tenor in the World


Beautiful voice


Sound authentic and of the day


Old recordings


Will not suit every listener

Full Review

My Husband and I have very eclectic taste in music. At any one time we may play the Beatles, followed by Led Zepplin followed by Shaggy followed by a little Mozart. Just as Art is hard to define, so is good Music. Like many people both of us now what we like to listen to but are always open to new sounds.

In many ways though classical music is the most appealing.

It can be soothing as well as challenging and some times it is just wonderful to hear.

When I think about classical music, I am always reminded of a particular comedy show in the UK. Steptoe and Son was a hugely popular comedy series some years ago. One particular episode, which involved a gramaphone, early music centre, and a pile of LPs, early albums is what springs to mind.

Harold, the intellectual snob is trying to play his hotch potch of classical records, much to his father's annoyance. As Harold tells his father, 'music don't only sooth the savage breast, it gives you bleeding headache'

These days most of us ordinary folk enjoy some classical music, as something which is acceptable, not out of the ordinary at least and is entertaining.

Among our classical music, at home, I came across 'Caruso -The Greatest Tenor in the World!', which he most certainly was at one time. I suppose Caruso was the Pavarotti of his day.

This CD is on RCA Victor and cost around £14.99 quite a while ago from a UK music store. I imagine it could be bought much more cheaper, these days, if you shop around. It has 2 CD's with around 41 tracks inall and gives more than 21/2 hours of listening pleasure.

It is recorded in Mono which I know is a totally alien concept for today's music lovers. The sepia photograph of Caruso on the front cover has him looking like a gangster from the Untouchables time period in the USA, and the list of Italian composers could certainly be a Mafia list.

Here is some general information relating to this two CD set:

The release date was 15th June 1999

The label is RCA Victor

There are various composers featured such as :
Bizet, Donizetti, Franchetti, Giordano, Goldmark, Gounod, Handel, Massenet, Meyerbeer, Ponchieli, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Leoncavallo, Rossini

The performers are Enrico Caruso, Josephine Jacoby, Pasquale Amato, Luisa Tetrazzini, Angelo Bada, Marcel Journet, Savlvatore Cottone, Umberto Giordano, Francis Lapitiono, Geraldine Farrar and more.

The conductors are: Walter Rogers, Josef Pasternack, Giulio Setti

Orchestra/Ensemble are Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

The tracks include:

Carmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée "Flower song" by Georges Bizet
Les pêcheurs de perles: Je crois entendre encore by Georges Bizet
L'Elisir d'Amore: Una furtiva lagrima by Gaetano Donizetti
La Favorita: Spirto gentil by Gaetano Donizetti
Lucia di Lammermoor: Chi mi frena in tal momento? (Sextet) by Gaetano Donizetti
Germania: Studenti! Udite! by Alberto Franchetti
Fedora: Amor ti vieta by Umberto Giordano
Andrea Chénier: Un dì all' azzuro spazio "Improvviso" by Umberto Giordano
Die Königin von Saba, Op. 27: Magische Töne by Karl Goldmark
Faust: Salut! demeure chaste et pure by Charles Gounod
La reine de Saba: Inspirez-moi, race divine by Charles Gounod
Serse, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu "Largo" by George Frideric Handel
Le Cid: O Souverain, ô juge, ô père by Jules Massenet
Manon: Ah! fuyez, douce image by Jules Massenet
L'Africaine: O paradis sorti de l'onde by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Les Huguenots: Plus blanche que la blanche hermine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
La Gioconda: Cielo e mar by Amilcare Ponchielli
La Bohème: O soave fanciulla by Giacomo Puccini
La Bohème: Che gelida manina by Giacomo Puccini
Tosca: Recondita armonia by Giacomo Puccini
Tosca: E lucevan le stelle by Giacomo Puccini
Manon Lescaut: Donna non vidi mai by Giacomo Puccini
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24: Lensky's aria by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Aida: Celeste Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Il trovatore: Di quella pira by Giuseppe Verdi
Il trovatore: Ah si, ben mio by Giuseppe Verdi
La forza del destino: Solenne in quest' ora by Giuseppe Verdi
La forza del destino: O, tu che in seno agli angeli by Giuseppe Verdi
La traviata: Libiamo ne' lieti calici "Brindisi" by Giuseppe Verdi
Macbeth: Ah, la paterna mano by Giuseppe Verdi
Requiem Mass: Ingemisco by Giuseppe Verdi
Otello: Ora e per sempre addio by Giuseppe Verdi
Otello: Si, pel ciel marmoreo giuro! by Giuseppe Verdi
Rigoletto: Questa o quella by Giuseppe Verdi
Rigoletto: La donna è mobile by Giuseppe Verdi
Rigoletto: Parmi veder le lagrime...Possente amor mi chiama by Giuseppe Verdi
Rigoletto: Bella figlia dell' amore [Quartet] by Giuseppe Verdi
Un ballo in maschera: Di' tu se fedele by Giuseppe Verdi
I Pagliacci: Recitar!...Vesti la giubba by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Stabat mater: Cujus animam by Gioachino Rossini
Petite Messe solennelle: Crucifixus by Gioachino Rossini

The above tracks are not listed here in the playing order. I have found that most of the recordings are a little crackly however this does add to the authentic feel and, after all, they are really quite old recordings.

Enrico Caruso was born on February 25th 1873 and died on August 2nd 1921. As with many of those extra special artists over the years, his life was all too brief, dying at the ripe old age of 48.

Caruso was born to a poor family and by the age of ten was having to work as a mechanic. but he attended a choral school at night. Caruso the man had other talents apart from Opera and was a talented and skilled caricaturist.

Caruso was lucky in his career in that it hit the heights. It was the time was when musical recordings were just becoming possible and popular. He made over 260 recordings during his life, which was a great deal when you think how briefly he sang and lived.

Caruso brought opera to the masses through his recordings. His deep voice is melodic and rich. Many of the world famous Tenors, who followed him, based their singing on Caruso's. Many of the tracks on these CD'S are unknown to me but that does not prevent me from enjoying them. None of them are recorded in English.

In Closing

One or two of the earliest of these recordings have almost that quality of music which accompanied the silent movies. As I have already said the quality of some of the recordings is a little raw, despite the fact that this CD is digitally remastered.. However as a piece of history it makes interesting listening.

If I sit back and relax, as I listen to Caruso, I can almost feel myself being transported back in time to the Italy of the day. Recommended for Opera lovers everywhere.