Caruso and Farrar

If the two names in the title mean anything to you then you are probably an opera buff. I’m not, but back in those days in the 1960s when I collected old 78 rpm records, I knew the names and particularly that of Enrico Caruso. I guess I decided an old single sided record which featured him was something I should have. Actually, if I am strictly honest now, I shouldn’t have it, for I don’t personally care for the music and I don’t listen to it. That, at least, means I am doing the record no harm.

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There’s the record – a 12 incher – protected in an album sold by Attwells of St. Leonards –on-Sea in Sussex.

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Here’s the label. We can see it’s an ‘HMV’ and the dog, Nipper’ is peering into the horn from which he can hear his master’s voice. Our two singers are performing a piece from the Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly. They sing in Italian.

Enrico Caruso was Italian and was a mega star of his era – roughly 1902 to 1920. He made 290 recordings and one of them was the first to achieve one million sales. He was a great friend of American Geraldine Farrah (some say it was more than friendship). She, too, was a star of her time. Her following of fans were known as ‘Gerry-flappers’. Her active singing era roughly coincided with Caruso’s, but whilst he died young she lived to a ripe old age.

This recording dates from 1908.

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