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KEY, Pierre V. R.

Enrico Caruso.

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

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, this copy subscribed for Marion Talley, signed by Caruso's widow Dorothy, Key, and Zirato on the limitation page, copy number 90 of 99 deluxe edition copies.

Marion Talley (1906-1983) was an American opera coloratura soprano. The present book would have reached her when, in 1922, she appeared as the lead in a production of Mignon with the Kansas City Grand Opera Company which was a huge success. "Her phenomenal success in these roles at the age of fifteen paved the way for an audition at the Metropolitan Opera House that November. The impresario Giulio Gatti-Casazza and his colleagues were so favorably impressed that they urged her to begin serious vocal study without delay" (ANB). Indeed, in 1926, she was the youngest prima donna to have made a debut at the Metropolitan Opera. "Marion was only 19 years old when her lovely voice first filled the vast interior of the New York Metropolitan opera house. The country girl was the youngest debutante ever to sing a star part within the portals of that sacred altar of music. Never since the glorious triumphs of Enrico Caruso had an audience cheered as they did for la Talley" (Calexico Chronicle).

Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) was an Italian operatic tenor, one of the most famous personalities of his day and one of the first examples of a global media celebrity. Aspiring singer Marion Talley would have admired him through the many press articles, books, magazines and films in which he appeared.

This biography of the great tenor was co-written by his private secretary Bruno Zirato (d. 1972) and Pierre Key, the then manager of Musical Digest.

A press cutting on entertainment topics from the New York Evening Journal of 28 July 1927 is loosely inserted.

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Large octavo. Original red morocco richly gilt, green inlay with monogram EC blocked in gilt, turn-ins gilt, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, silk bookmark, housed in plush-lined card slipcase.


Photogravure portrait frontispiece, and 32 photographic plates.


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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