CARUSO, Enrico - KEY, Pierre V. R., & Bruno Zirato.

Enrico Caruso.

A biography by Pierre V. R. Key in collaboration with Bruno Zirato.

Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1922 Stock Code: 132883
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Opera singer Marion Talley's copy, signed by Caruso's widow Dorothy, Key, and Zirato

First edition, first printing, deluxe issue, number 90 of 99 copies signed by Caruso's widow Dorothy and the authors; this copy subscribed for by the celebrated American soprano Marion Talley and presented here in a particularly handsome binding.

Of humble origins, Talley (1906-1983) revealed at an early age "unmistakable musical talents" and at 15 appeared with Kansas City Grand Opera in productions of The Bohemian Girl and Mignon. "Her phenomenal success in these roles paved the way for an audition at the Metropolitan Opera House that November. The impresario Giulio Gatti-Casazza and his colleagues were so favourably impressed that they urged her to begin serious vocal study without delay". After study in America and Italy "Gatti-Casazza signed her to a contract for the 19251926 season, fully aware that she had never sung professionally and would be at the time the youngest singer to perform a leading role at the Metropolitan" (American National Biography). She went on to tour extensively and performed for another three seasons with the Met. As the Californian newspaper, the Calexico Chronicle reported, "Never since the glorious triumphs of Enrico Caruso had an audience cheered as they did for la Talley".

"Like Geraldine Farrar, Marion Talley's personality outside the opera hall was central to her fame. Her sweet and natural voice may not have made for a very convincing Queen of the Night, but it did endear her to promoters of American music Talley's celebrity relied on a performance style that refused to transcend its youthful American origins and commercial potential" (Fleeger, p. 65).

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Large octavo. Presentation binding of red morocco richly gilt, front cover with green inlay bearing Caruso's monogram, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, silk page marker. Housed in plush-lined card slipcase.


Photogravure portrait frontispiece, and 32 photographic plates.


A press cutting on entertainment topics from the New York Evening Journal of 28 July 1927 is loosely inserted. Joints rubbed, marginal browning on endpapers due to the leather, browning to pp. 354-355 where the press cutting was inserted, light toning to fore edge. A near-fine copy.


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