A personal archive of correspondence from Italian opera singer Enrico Caruso made £182,500 ($284,883) in a sale at Christie's London on November 19.
Caruso (1873-1921) was one of the best-known and best-loved tenors of the 20th century.
He enjoyed a hugely successful career performing in the world's most prestigious venues.
The archive consists of hundreds of letters, photographs and assorted ephemera dating to between 1897 and 1921.
He describes in great detail his critically lauded debut for the Milan Opera in 1897: "Victory! Victory! Victory achieved in every way, and beyond what even I could have imagined, so unsure was I of the part throughout…
"I was a little nervous before coming on stage because my voice felt very heavy especially in the lower range, but then…I sang my first duet stupendously…
"I came out again to sing my little romanza and at the end of this, which finishes with a splendid B flat, the whole theatre rose in applause, which must have lasted at least five minutes…
At the end of the performance, the audience called us out at least seven times amidst unanimous applause…In short, my future is secured".
Also included are letters to Ada Giachetti, the woman with whom he had a torrid affair over a number of years. "I feel I am going crazy, I can't control myself, I feel as if I'm dying, it's been two days since I had a letter from you…God, what torture this is," he writes.
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