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Stage Fright

"Maria Jeritza and Enrico Caruso once appeared together in a production of the opera 'Carmen' at New York's Metropolitan Opera House. No expense was spared with real horses being used to pull the coach carrying Carmen and Escamillo onto the stage in the final act.

"Nervous at such an occasion one of the horses was unable to contain himself and expressed his stage fright in a rather distasteful manner. Soon after this display of nerves Caruso was called upon to stab Jeritza. Maria refused to fall. Caruso stabbed her for a second time and screamed, 'Die, fall, will you!'

"Back came the reply, 'I'll die if you can find me a clean place!'"

[In 1902, Caruso recorded ten songs for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company, for which he was reluctantly paid the exorbitant amount of ?100. The company was happy they made the deal: their net profit amounted to about ?15,000.]

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