Enrico Caruso’s Landmark Recordings

Catherine Roddam looks back at the first recordings of Italian tenor Enrico Caruso.

Today’s top twenty lists of classical recordings  wouldn’t seem the same without the obligatory compilation albums by Alagna, Bocelli, Gheorgiou and co. But while we listen to their voices through our speakers, it is the singers and their record companies who are reaping the greatest rewards. It has been a similar story through the last hundred years, but whereas today the classical recording industry is in decline due to an over-saturated market, at the beginning of the twentieth century it was facing a period of exponential growth. So, too, was the career of the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. His first recordings, made a hundred years ago this month, on April 11th, 1902, would kick-start the birth of the gramophone as a medium for what we now take for granted – the serious recording.

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