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Caruso biographers Pierre Key, Bruno Zirato and Stanley Jackson attribute Caruso’s fame not only to his voice and musicianship but also to a keen business sense and an enthusiastic embrace of commercial sound recording, then in its infancy.

Many opera singers of Caruso’s time rejected the phonograph (or gramophone) due to the low fidelity of early discs.

Initially, Marcellino thought that his son should adopt the same trade and at the age of 11, the boy was apprenticed to a mechanical engineer named Palmieri who constructed public water fountains.

(Whenever visiting Naples in future years, Caruso liked to point out a fountain that he had helped to install.) Caruso later worked alongside his father at the Meuricoffre factory in Naples.

Caruso’s widow Dorothy also included the story in a memoir that she wrote about her late husband.

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// Caruso’s 25-year career, stretching from 1895 to 1920, included 863 appearances at the New York Metropolitan Opera before he died from an infection at the age of 48.Others, including Adelina Patti, Francesco Tamagno and Nellie Melba, exploited the new technology once they became aware of the financial returns that Caruso was reaping from his initial recording sessions.Caruso made more than 260 extant recordings in America for the Victor Talking Machine Company (later RCA Victor) from 1904 to 1920, and he earned millions of dollars in royalties from the retail sales of the resulting 78-rpm discs.His progress as a paid entertainer was interrupted, however, by 45 days of compulsory military service.He completed this in 1894, resuming his voice lessons with Vergine upon discharge from the army.

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