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Enrico Caruso

Caruso, Enrico (1873- 1921), Italian dramatic tenor, born in Naples. He made his debut in Naples in 1894. His first great success was in Milan in 1898 when he created the role of Loris in Fedora by the Italian composer Umberto Giordano. Engagements followed in St Petersburg, Rome, Lisbon, and Monte Carlo, where his 1902 performance in La Bohme by Giacomo Puccini with Nellie Melba established his international reputation. He made his Covent Garden debut the same year in Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi. In 1903 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, also in Rigoletto. His repertoire included more than 40 operas (chiefly Italian). He created roles in Adriana Lecouvreur by the Italian composer Francesco Cilea and The Girl of the Golden West by Puccini. He is especially remembered for the role of Canio in Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

From his first appearance, Caruso became the chief attraction of the Metropolitan Opera House, his voice being one of extraordinary beauty and power. One of the first singers to make phonograph records, Caruso became universally famous by means of the new medium. Several of his recordings were successively reissued in new formats and remain available today. His position as the pre-eminent dramatic tenor was unchallenged to the end of his life. Caruso's last appearance was at the Metropolitan Opera House on December 24, 1920. In 1987 the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences recognized Caruso with a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.