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Caruso and Tetrazzini on the Art of Singing   By: (1873-1921)

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Metropolitan Company, Publishers, New York, 1909.


In offering this work to the public the publishers wish to lay before those who sing or who are about to study singing, the simple, fundamental rules of the art based on common sense. The two greatest living exponents of the art of singing Luisa Tetrazzini and Enrico Caruso have been chosen as examples, and their talks on singing have additional weight from the fact that what they have to say has been printed exactly as it was uttered, the truths they expound are driven home forcefully, and what they relate so simply is backed by years of experience and emphasized by the results they have achieved as the two greatest artists in the world.

Much has been said about the Italian Method of Singing. It is a question whether anyone really knows what the phrase means. After all, if there be a right way to sing, then all other ways must be wrong. Books have been written on breathing, tone production and what singers should eat and wear, etc., etc., all tending to make the singer self conscious and to sing with the brain rather than with the heart. To quote Mme. Tetrazzini: "You can train the voice, you can take a raw material and make it a finished production; not so with the heart."

The country is overrun with inferior teachers of singing; men and women who have failed to get before the public, turn to teaching without any practical experience, and, armed only with a few methods, teach these alike to all pupils, ruining many good voices. Should these pupils change teachers, even for the better, then begins the weary undoing of the false method, often with no better result.

To these unfortunate pupils this book is of inestimable value. He or she could not consistently choose such teachers after reading its pages. Again the simple rules laid down and tersely and interestingly set forth not only carry conviction with them, but tear away the veil of mystery that so often is thrown about the divine art.

Luisa Tetrazzini and Enrico Caruso show what not to do, as well as what to do, and bring the pupil back to first principles the art of singing naturally.


By Luisa Tetrazzini

[Illustration: LUISA TETRAZZINI]



Luisa Tetrazzini, the most famous Italian coloratura soprano of the day, declares that she began to sing before she learned to talk. Her parents were not musical, but her elder sister, now the wife of the eminent conductor Cleofante Campanini, was a public singer of established reputation, and her success roused her young sister's ambition to become a great artist. Her parents were well to do, her father having a large army furnishing store in Florence, and they did not encourage her in her determination to become a prima donna. One prima donna, said her father, was enough for any family.

Luisa did not agree with him. If one prima donna is good, she argued, why would not two be better? So she never desisted from her importunity until she was permitted to become a pupil of Professor Coccherani, vocal instructor at the Lycée. At this time she had committed to memory more than a dozen grand opera rôles, and at the end of six months the professor confessed that he could do nothing more for her voice; that she was ready for a career.

She made her bow to the Florentine opera going public, one of the most critical in Italy, as Inez, in Meyerbeer's "L'Africaine," and her success was so pronounced that she was engaged at a salary of $100 a month, a phenomenal beginning for a young singer. Queen Margherita was present on the occasion and complimented her highly and prophesied for her a great career. She asked the trembling débutante how old she was, and in the embarrassment of the moment Luisa made herself six years older than she really was... Continue reading book >>

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