Despite my great age, I was not raised listening to Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). Tito Schipa (1888-1965) was the name on the red label we played on our Victrola. Since a friend loaned me a VHS recording of the movie, The Great Caruso (1951), I have been in opera heaven, reliving my past. It was my good fortune to marry a devotee of John McCormack, which  reinforced my love of a good tenor voice.

I cannot say enough good things about The Great Caruso, starring Mario Lanza as Caruso and Ann Blyth as his wife.  It is amazing the number of operatic arias and tid-bits they fit into that one movie, which seems to me to be rather long but holding interest all the way.   Who in that day could have made a better Caruso?  Lanza’s voice is spectacular (he was the best tenor of his time), and even his acting is good enough.   (Hear him sing O Holy Night.)   What a blessing that he was able to make this movie before his untimely death at 37.

I was able to listen to Tito Schipa’s La Donna e Mobile on YouTube (where it has had over three million hits) but embedding was disabled by request. It is as bouncy and joyful as I recall it. His O Sole Mio, however, was available.

John McCormack AND Enrico Caruso sing Una Furtiva Lagrima

John McCormack singing Il Mio Tesoro.

Everyone knows of the success of the four tenors of Il Divo. They keep me singing nowadays. (I guess I had a serious senior moment when I forgot to mention Andrea Bocelli! How many Bocelli concerts have it been to?)