February 25, 2019

20,000 vinyl LPs 170: The Best of Enrico Caruso


Today is the birthday of Enrico Caruso, considered by many to be one of the greatest tenors of all time. He was born in Naples in the via Santi Giovanni e Paolo n° 7 on February 25, 1873, he was baptized the next day in the adjacent Church of San Giovanni e Paolo.               

1910 postcard

On April 11, 1902, Enrico Caruso walked into the Grand Hotel in Milan. Two hours and 10 songs later, the Neapolitan tenor walked out with a cheque for $100 ($10,000 in today's currency) and the world of music would never be the same. Those first recordings were released just before Caruso made his Metropolitan Opera debut and would go on to sell over 1 million copies, and April 11 will go down as the day that changed the recording industry.       

The maker of these recordings was Fred Gaisberg, the talent scout from the Gramophone Company in London, who had discovered Caruso a few days earlier at La Scala in a production of Germania by Alberto Franchetti. When Gaisberg transmitted Caruso's fee for recording the ten songs to London, the cabled reply came back: Fee exorbitant, forbid you to record. Gaisberg crumpled the telegram and went ahead with the recording.                     

The best of Enrico Caruso
vinyl LP front cover
photo of front cover by Styrous®

The best of Enrico Caruso
vinyl LP front cover
photo of front cover by Styrous®

In 1951 a biopic on the life of Enrico Caruso was made; entitled, The Great Caruso, Mario Lanza was cast in the role of the tenor. Lanza had a fantastic voice and he was beyond handsome.     

date & photographer unknown

The wife of Caruso, Dorothy Park Benjamin, was portrayed by Ann Blyth. It featured a large number of Metropolitan Opera stars, notably sopranos Teresa Celli, Lucine Amara, and Marina Koshetz, mezzo-soprano Blanche Thebom, baritone Giuseppe Valdengo, and bass Nicola Moscona. The original music was by Johnny Green (link below).   

The Great Caruso, produced a million-seller with The Loveliest Night of the Year (the song used the melody of Sobre las Olas (link below), written by Juventino Rosas). The Great Caruso was the top-grossing film that year.            

movie poster

photo of front cover byStyrous®

vinyl LP gatefold interior
photo of front cover byStyrous®

Caruso died shortly after 9:00 a.m. local time, on August 2, 1921, in his native Naples, not far from where he was born. He was 48 years old. The Bastianelli brothers, eminent medical practitioners with a clinic in Rome attributed the likely cause of death to peritonitis arising from a burst subphrenic abscess. In his biography, Enrico Caruso, Jr. (link below) points to an on-stage injury suffered by Caruso as the possible trigger of his fatal illness. A falling pillar in Samson and Delilah on December 3 the previous year had hit him on the back, over the left kidney.        

Enrico Caruso ‎– The Best Of Caruso
Label: RCA Victor Red Seal ‎– LM 6056
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Mono, Compilation
Country: US
Released: 1958
Genre: Classical
Style: Opera, Romantic


Side 1:

A1 - Aïda: Act I: Celeste Aïda     
(Recorded December 27, 1911)

A2 - La Forza Del Destino: Act III: Solenne In Questora, Baritone Vocals – Antonio Scotti    (Recorded March 13, 1906)

A3 - Rigoletto: Act I: Questa O Quella     
Date not given

A4 - Rigoletto: Act IV: La Donna È Mobile     
(Recorded March 16, 1908)

A5 - Rigoletto: Act IV: Quartet: Bella Figlia Dell 'Amore, Baritone Vocals – Giuseppe De Luca (3), Contralto Vocals – Flora Perini, Soprano Vocals – Amelita Galli-Curci
(Recorded January 25, 1917)
A6 - Il Trovatore: Act IV: Ai Nostri Monti, Contralto Vocals – Louise Homer
(Recorded March 17, 1908)
A7 - Otello: Act II: Si Pel Ciel, Baritone Vocals – Titta Ruffo
(Recorded January 8, 1914) 


Side 2:    

B1 - Xerxes: Ombra Mai Fu (Largo)     
(Recorded January 29, 1920)

B2 - L 'Elisir D'Amore: Act II: Una Furtiva Lagrima     
(Recorded, with Piano, February 1, 1904)

B3 - Lucia Di Lammermoor: Act II: Sextet: Chi Mi Frena In Tal Momento?, Baritone Vocals – Giuseppe De Luca (3)Bass Vocals – Marcel Journet, Contralto Vocals – Minnie Egener, Soprano Vocals – Amelita Galli-Curci, Tenor Vocals – Angelo Bada
(Recorded January 25, 1917)
B4 - La Bohème: Act I: Che Gelida Manina     
(Recorded December 30, 1912)

B5 - La Bohème: Act I: O Soave Fanciulla, Soprano Vocals – Geraldine Farrar
(Recorded February 11, 1906)
B6 - Tosca: Act I: Recondita Armonia     
(Recorded November 6, 1909)

B7 - La Gioconda: Act II: Cielo E Mar     
(Recorded March 14, 1910)

B8 - Pagliacci: Act I Vesti La Giubba         
(Recorded March 17, 1907)

Side 3:

C1 - Amadis: Act II: Bois Épais 
(Recorded September 16, 1920)

C2 - L'Africana: Act IV O Paradiso!     
(Recorded February 20, 1907)

C3 - Carmen: Act II Air De La Fleur     
(Recorded November 7, 1909)

C4 - Manon: Act III: Recit.: Je Suis Seul; Aria: Ah! Fuyez, Douce Image     
(Recorded December 27, 1911)

C5 - Le Cid: Act III: O Souverain! O Juge! O Père!     
(Recorded February 5, 1916)

C6 - La Juive: Act IV: Rachel! Quand Du Seigneur La Grâce Tutélaire     
(Recorded September 14, 1920)

C7 - Martha: Act II: Quartet: Dormi Pur, Bass Vocals – Marcel Journet, Contralto Vocals – Josephine Jacoby, Soprano Vocals – Frances Alda
(Recorded January 7, 1912)

Side 4:    

D1 - O Sole Mio, written by E. di Capua*, G. Capurro*
(Recorded February 5, 1916)
D2 - Vaghissima Sembianza, written by Donaudy*
(Recorded September 15, 1920)
D3 - La Campana Di San Guisto, written by Arona
(Recorded January 6, 1919)
D4 - La Partida, written by Álvarez*
(Recorded July 10, 1918)
D5 - Noche Feliz, written by Posadas*
(Recorded September 14, 1920)
D6 - Over There, written by Cohan*
(Recorded July 11, 1918)
D7 - Sei Morta Nella Vita Mia, Piano – Vincenzo Bellezza, written by P. Mario Costa
(Recorded April 16, 1918)
D8 - Luna D'Estate, written by MazzolaWritten-By – Tosti*
 (Recorded February 5, 1916)


    Liner Notes – Francis Robinson
    Tenor Vocals – Enrico Caruso


Designed to be played on an Auto-Changer:
Disc 1 A/D
Disk 2 B/C

Barcode and Other Identifiers

    Matrix / Runout (Side 1 (A)): H2RP-7552 - 20S I D1
    Matrix / Runout (Side 2 (B)): H2RP-7553 - 22S I A2
    Matrix / Runout (Side 3 (C)): H2RP-7554 - 11S A/ I
    Matrix / Runout (Side 4 (D)): H2RP-7555 - 13S I
    Matrix / Runout ((var. 1) side A runout stamped): H2 RP7552-1SI B1
    Matrix / Runout ((var. 1) side B runout stamped): H2RP-7553-6S I ΛI
    Matrix / Runout ((var. 1) side C runout stamped): H2RP-7554-4S I A2
    Matrix / Runout ((var. 1) side D runout stamped): H2 RP7555-1S I A2
    Matrix / Runout ((var. 2) side A runout stamped): H2 RP7552-1S I B2
    Matrix / Runout ((var. 2) side B runout stamped): H2 RP7553--1S I A1
    Matrix / Runout ((var. 2) side C runout stamped): H2 RP7554-1S I B2
    Matrix / Runout ((var. 2) side D runout stamped): H2RP-7555-4S I Λ2

Viewfinder links:           

Johnny Green          
Antonio Scotti     
Net links:           

The Guardian ~ Enrico Caruso’s love letters, the passion of a Puccini opera    
History ~ Enrico Caruso, the greatest tenor who ever lived     
NY Times ~ Enrico Caruso, Jr. - Caruso, My Father and My Family   
Opera Musica ~ Caruso - Tenor, Artist of the past       
Scena ~ The Voice of Caruso       
YouTube links:           
Styrous® ~ Monday, February 25, 2019     


Antonio Scotti articles/mentions

The Best of Enrico Caruso     
Joan Sutherland sings Donizetti      
Antonio Scotti       
date & photographer unknown      

February 23, 2019

Jeff Adachi & The Golden Ring

This morning I heard on the news that San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi had a heart attack and died yesterday; I was dumbfounded to hear this.     
I met Jeff in 1999 when I was producing an event for the Asian American Arts Foundation (links below). Jeff was the chair for the event and we worked together for many hours and became friends. I liked him tremendously; he was gentle and soft spoken but when he did speak, it was with authority and certainty. He was polite to everyone and when needed, he could rationally direct them to what was the proper course to take. He was magnificent! 
Jeff Adachi 
photo by Quint King

It was an experience of a lifetime; while working on the production I met a few celebrities: Charlie Low of the Forbidden City, Rolling Stone journalist Ben Fong-Torres (link below), actress Pat Suzuki (link below), actor Lou Diamond Phillips (link below), Mayor Willie Brown and many others.    

We kept in touch for a while after the event but eventually drifted apart, however, I would watch his career progress over the years. In addition to his many legal activities he was active in social reform, hailed as a warrior for criminal justice reform and praised as a champion “for those who didn’t have a voice.”

On August 1, 2013 He gave a brilliant talk on the ethical dilemma of implicit or unconscious bias in the law at the Criminal Litigation Ethics Seminar at UC Hastings College of the Law (link below). 

He  wrote, produced, and directed The Slanted Screen, a 2006 documentary film about stereotypical depictions of Asian males in American cinema. The film won awards at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival and at the Berkeley Film Festival. In 2009, he directed You Don't Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story, which won the best documentary film at the Accolade Film Festival

In 2016, he made the film America Needs a Racial Facial, an eight-minute history of racism in the U.S. It won the best short documentary at the Hollywood Independent Documentary Film Festival awards in February of 2016 and earned a distribution deal by the Films for the Humanities and Sciences later that year.    

Jeff Adachi - February 21, 2016 
photographer unknown

His 2017 documentary Defender, co-directed with Jim Choi, won best documentary at the Independent Television Festival. The 70-minute piece followed a racially charged case tried by Adachi as well as a case handled by the office's immigration unit.        

Jeff Adachi is believed to have suffered a heart attack at 46 Telegraph Place near Coit Tower. He was 59 years old. He will be missed by many people.     
      Viewfinder links:        
Jeff Adachi articles/mentions      
Flower Drum Song & Pat Suzuk     
Golden Ring Awards ~ October 2, 1999        
Net links:        

SF Public Defender ~ Talk: Implicit Bias - August 1, 2013    
ABC News ~ obit
KQED ~ obit       
LA Times ~ obit
SF Chronicle ~ obit
SF Examiner ~  obit      
YouTube links:        
Jeff Adachi - Golden Ring Awards 1999       
Lou Diamond Phillips - Golden Ring Awards 1999         
Ben Fong Torres - Golden Ring Awards 1999       

"The history of man has just begun; 
in the aeons which lie before him 
lie limitless hope or limitless despair."
                      ~ Jeff Adachi - 2013

Styrous® ~ Saturday, February 23, 2019    

On TV 16: Jeff Adachi





Styrous® ~ Saturday, February 23, 2019            

Jeff Adachi articles/mentions

Jeff Adachi & The Golden Ring    
On TV 14: Jeff Adachi          
Flower Drum Song & Pat Suzuki    
Golden Ring Awards ~ October 2, 1999  

     Jeff Adachi 
official portrait 

Anastasia Schipani articles/mentions

Anastasia Schipani ~ fashion & art   
13th Annual Jingletown Winter Art Walk 
14th Annual Jingletown Winter Art Walk 
Jingletown, Oakland ~ Open Studios 2018
Anastasia Schipani -2018   
photo by Styrous®


February 20, 2019

earRotator ~ The Metro - February 20, 2004


photos by Styrous®

I find it so hard to comprehend that it was fifteen years ago today I shot the performance by earRotator (link below) at The Metro in Oakland, California; it seems like only yesterday.     

The venue is where a year later I would see a truly unique staging of the fantasy opera, Beauty and the Beast, by Philip Glass (link below). The whole space had been filled with a stage set for the opera that left very little room for an audience. However, this time the space was completely empty and it is enormous!       

The Metro main page splash image
photographer unknown


This was the third performance by earRotator I shot. I was to shoot one more gig three weeks later, but that's a blog entry for next month.     

Viewfinder links:
Net link:
earRotator website     
YouTube  link:

Styrous® ~ Wednesday, February 20, 2019