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Kudos to Mary Kunz Goldman for her wonderful article on the great tenor, Enrico Caruso ("Caruso's greatness is clear through static," March 13).

Thank you for recognizing this legendary artist who sang when no powerful amplification systems existed to enhance the voice, no glitzy promo to glorify the image.

Caruso lived in an era when talent and talent alone reigned supreme. Although possessing one of the great instruments of the "Golden Age" of opera, Caruso's greatness lay more in his heart than in his vocal cords.

Coming from humble beginnings, he gave to those less fortunate than himself. Moreover, he was not born with the voice we all know. Rather, he built it from scratch, inch-by-inch, until it became a power.

His first teacher told him his voice sounded "like the wind whistling through the shutters." Thankfully, the mindless remark was ignored by the maestro. He would sit for hours, before a lighted candle, emitting his breath directly into the flame to see if it flickered. This is what produced the remarkable breath control that led to the glorious spinto line, which melted his listeners.

Few understand, even today, what this man endured throughout his life. The pain he suffered in his closing days, undulled by modern medicine, was beyond telling. But still, his spirit prevailed.

Although known as the greatest tenor who ever lived, Caruso's true legacy resides more in who he was than in what he did.

Paul D. Vigyikan

Orchard Park

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