The private papers of the world’s most famous singer

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The tumultuous personal life of the great tenor Enrico Caruso, as dramatic as any opera, is illuminated by a treasure trove of letters.

In 1897, a young and little-known tenor called Enrico turned up at composer Giacomo Puccini’s house to audition. It was for the part of Rodolfo in the latter’s new opera, La Bohème. Puccini initially had low expectations, yet within a few bars of the aria ‘Che gelida manina’ stood converted. He asked the singer, ‘Who sent you to me? God?’