scene: A gathering of older New York Italians in Luigi Rossiâ€™s store, Grand Street, Litle Italy. Caruso had become the figure of identification for Italian immigrants in New York at the beginning of the century.
analysis: Una furtiva lagrima (Lâ€™Elisir dâ€™amore, Donizetti), 1904
Quotes from the film's exposition... Caruso was trained in the old school of belcanto, singing on the breath. He used that technique even up to his last recordings but fused it with the expressive gestures of verismo. Aesthetically, it was bold - but brillantly bold. (Kesting) Caruso was critisized in Naples for being in essence a vulgar singer because he did not do the diminuendos of, say, Fernando de Lucia. Caruso provides many thrills. But on balance his effect on singing was to make it less expressive, less interesting certainly from a musical point of view because Caruso tended to sing at full volume most of the time. (Zucker)
...from its confrontation... Fred Gaisberg travelled to the Continent to record great singers. In Milan, "Caruso poured the liquid gold of his voice onto the wax cylinders which we couldn't change as fast as he sang". He sang ten arias in half an hour and picked up hundred pounds. Three months later the company had made 15.000 pounds. (Kesting) Once he came to the Met this was his opera company. If you think in terms of todays singers - they don't devote themselves to one company. They fly everywhere. Caruso came to New York in October, usually, he stayed until the end of April and he averaged more than fifty performances a season. (Tuggle)