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The Great Caruso

by Art Gottliebles

Les Mittleman, Ph.D. (Emeritus Professor of English, CSULB) has taught many classes at OLLI and, as he tells his students, “I have always been fascinated by the way an artist’s life has influenced his creativity.” In OLLI’s summer session, once again Mittleman explores the life of an artist and the effect it had on the career of virtuoso singer Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). He’s sure that many of us recall our childhood days when our homes were filled with strangesounding, 78 rpm vinyl recordings of his amazing voice, one that became famous all over the world. In Caruso’s heyday, when he was chief tenor of the Metropolitan Opera, he sang so many roles that he became a living legend. (This writer notes: I recall my own father remarking that he had a vocal range from basso to tenor--it was absolutely amazing! Of course my experience with the legendary singer was through those screechy/scratchy recordings.)

Fast forward to CSULB in July. Mittleman will be treating his students to recordings that make “the great Caruso” sound like he’s right here in the OLLI classroom. (Those old 78 rpm recordings have been re-mastered into
CDs that are state of the art.) Students will also learn the history of this famous Italian singer who had an amazing career. From 1901 to his final session in 1921, from the slums of Naples, Italy, to a life that encompassed the “Golden Age of Opera”, he continually fascinated his audiences.
Not only that, but the power of Caruso’s natural voice was phenomenal; he never needed a microphone.

With that brief introduction, Mittleman invites anyone “who wants to go
crazy from hearing this unbelievable talent” to join him in THE GREAT CARUSO.

 

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSULB
Building HS&D, Rooms 100 & 101
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840-5609
Phone: 562-985-8237 Fax: 562-985-8213
Web site: www.csulb.edu/centers/olli
Email: olli@csulb.edu

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