Caruso (song)

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"Caruso" is a song written by Italian singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla in 1986. It is dedicated to Enrico Caruso, an Italian tenor. Following Lucio Dalla's death, the song entered the Italian Singles Chart, peaking at number two for two consecutive weeks.[1] The single was also certified platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.[2]

Unclear meaning of the song[edit]

Controversially, the song simply tells about the pain and longings of a man who is about to die while he is looking into the eyes of a girl who was very dear to him.

This song is most probably a way of romanticizing Enrico Caruso's last days in Sorrento and Naples. Enrico Caruso, a great legend of the Italian Opera was one of the greatest and most sought-after singers during the late 19th and early 20th century. He lived a very difficult and rather unhappy life having had many challenges and problems with Italian opera houses, but gained more fame and success in the United States.

He was born to a very poor family in Naples. He was often involved with women and had several love affairs with prominent married women in the performing arts. These love affairs often ended badly. With Ada Giachetti (his most passionate and longest love affair) who was already married, he had two sons, but in the end she left him for their chauffeur. Then he met and wed a woman 20 years his junior, Dorothy Park Benjamin, just a few years before he died, whom Lucio Dalla describes in this song "Caruso". With her he had a daughter named Gloria.

Guardò negli occhi la ragazza quegli occhi verdi come il mare
Poi all'improvviso uscì una lacrima e lui credette di affogare
Te voglio bene assaje ma tanto tanto bene sai

It is said that people thought that Caruso was not really in love with Dorothy Benjamin. Later Caruso admitted that he married her: "Because I want somebody who is completely my own." Sorrento is a coastal city not far from Naples. In the song it says "Surriento", in the Neapolitan dialect meaning Sorrento. It's where he spent many days in convalescence before he finally died at Vesuvio Hotel in Naples. The music and words of the refrain

Te voglio bene assaje
ma tanto tanto bene sai
è una catena ormai.
che scioglie il sangue dint'e vene sai...

are not original but are part of a napolitan song, titled "Dicitencello vuje", published in 1930 by Rodolfo Falvo (music) and Enzo Fusco (text) written according to the best tradition of napolitan "romances" with a strong operatic style.

What is not clear is whether Caruso is talking to his daughter or to his wife while he sings, "Ti voglio bene assaje ma tanto bene sai", in the song. In Italian one can say "Ti voglio bene" to any family member or close friend. The phrase is rarely used toward one's romantic love. The exact words of the song are: "Te voglio bene assaje, ma tanto tanto bene sai" and are, in Neapolitan dialect, meaning: I love you very much. Very very much, you know." Followed by the lines: "We've formed a (chain) bond by now, that thaws the blood in my veins, you know". "Ragazza" is also used to reference a young lady, rather than one of Dorothy's age or relation to Caruso; therefore, it is safe to assume that the song is addressed toward Gloria.

Lucio Dalla's official video of the song was filmed at the Vesuvio Hotel where Enrico Caruso died.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Garðar Thór Cortes Icelandic tenor.
  • Katherine Jenkins Welsh lyric mezzo-soprano.
  • Greek singer Maria Farantouri, featuring music composed by Leo Brouwer, covered the song in 1990, on her album Maria Farantouri - 17 Songs.
  • El Cigala covered the song in his album Dos Lagrimas singing the chorus in Italian while translating the rest of the song to Spanish.
  • Estela Raval (los 5 latinos) covered the song in spanish version on her album "UNA" recorded in Chile in 1990.
  • Andrea Bocelli covered the song on his debut album Il mare calmo della sera (1994) and later in his best-selling album Romanza.
  • Italian singer Milva, featuring music composed by James Last, covered the song in 1994, on her album Milva & James Last: Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz, recorded in collaboration with James Last. A live rendition of the song performed in Osaka, Japan in 1996 was included on her limited edition album Live and More (Milva Collectors Club), issued in 1998.
  • Luciano Pavarotti recorded the song in 1986. ( "The best version so far" is into the "Tutto Pavarotti" double album ). He sang it in many of his concerts, most notably in his 1993 "Pavarotti and Friends" album with Lucio Dalla, the composer, and in The Three Tenors, which is included in the Paris 1998 album.
  • Aldo Romano Quartet, muted trumpet (Paolo Fresu) in the album Non Dimenticar (1999)
  • Lara Fabian, a multi-national singer who sings in Quebec, Canada, as well as in Belgium and the US, included this song on her En Toute Intimité album (2003). She also gave a virtuoso performance of it as part of her 2003 Tour.
  • Julio Iglesias covered this song in his album Crazy (1994).
  • Russian singer Vitas covered this song in 2002 (later released as a digital download on the Vitas' official site - as well as the Radio Vitas Online - in 2011).[3]
  • Josh Groban covered this song in his second studio album Closer (2003).
  • A slowed down version was featured on Il Divo's Siempre album released in November 2006, which includes several key changes and an arrangement of the song for four voices.
  • Sergio Franchi covered the song in 1989 on his last album, Encore.
  • Fatih Erkoç covered the song Turkish "Ağlama" with the name in 1996 on his album, "Kardelen".
  • Florent Pagny covered the song in 1996. Released as a single, his version peaked at #2 in France and #3 in Belgium (Wallonia).
  • It was covered by Antonio Forcione with Sabina Scubbia on vocals in his 1997 album Meet Me In London.r.
  • Italian pop music icon Mina covered this song as part of the Ti conosco mascherina double LP, originally released in 1990.
  • Zizi Possi recorded the song on the album "Per Amore" (1997).
  • Mercedes Sosa covered the song on her album Sino (1993).
  • Neal Schon (American rock guitarist - Journey - Santana) recorded a guitar instrumental version of this song in his album "Voice" 2001.
  • In 2005 the song was covered by British tenor Jon Christos on his debut album Northern Light.
  • In 2006, Mario Frangoulis included this song on his CD/DVD Music of the Night (Sony Classical) of his live performance at the Herod Atticus Theatre in Athens, Greece, 2005.
  • The Chilean singer Bárbara Muñoz, recorded a pop version of the song in her album "Amanecer" in 2006. This song was performed before when she participated in the TV program "Rojo Fama Contrafama"
  • Trumpeter Chris Botti covered the song from 2007 album "Italia."[4][5]
  • In 2007 the song was covered by Paul Potts on his first album One chance. Paul Potts is a British tenor vocalist who in 2007 became the winner of the first series of ITV's Britain's Got Talent, singing an operatic aria, "Nessun Dorma" from Giacomo Puccini's Turandot.
  • In 2008 the song was covered by Next Time, a Macedonian rock band.
  • In 2008 the group Pharos covered it for the album The Best POP Opera 2008
  • In 2009, Dominic Mancuso covered this song on his Juno-award-winning album Comfortably Mine.
  • In 2010, 14-year old Cristian Imparato covered this song on Italian's Mediaset Canale 5 show, Io Canto, later becoming the "Campione" or Winner of the show.
  • On January 22, 2010, Danny Jones from McFly sang a shortened version of the song in the second round of ITV's Popstar to Operastar.
  • Mark Masri recorded this song on his 2010 album, La Voce.
  • Donald Braswell II recorded this song on his 2011 album, Unchained.
  • Alfie Boe covered the song on his 2011 album, You'll Never Walk Alone - The Collection.
  • The song was sung by duo Jonathan and Charlotte during the May 2012 semi-final of Britain's Got Talent
  • The song was sung by duo Jonathan and Charlotte on their album Together issued September 24, 2012.
  • Julian Jensen performed the song for the film One More Kiss (film) and it was also included on the film's soundtrack
  • In 2013, Ignazio Boschetto of Il Volo performed a rendition on Il Volo's tour as a solo.
  • In 2013, FORTE the Operatic trio; sang the song on Season 8 of America's Got Talent (season 8)
  • In 2013, the song was featured in Season 2, Episode 2 of Netflix's Lilyhammer, sung by Momodou Lamin Touray.
  • Ivan Petrović, Serbian pop-opera singer covered at Prvi glas Srbije 2013 (The first Voice of Serbia)
  • In 2014, 15 years old Cristóbal Morales a mexican Baritone covered this song in Italian, on his debut in the field of Classical Crossover music.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1990–2012) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[6] 38
Italy (FIMI)[7] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[8] 68
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[9] 30
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[10] 16

References[edit]

External links[edit]