I won't belabour this one as the merits of this Naxos series are evident and anyone purchasing this bargain four-disc compilation will get just what they wanted: a condensed but comprehensive biography of the greatest singer of all time, genially and elegantly narrated by author-actor David Timson, complemented by thirty tracks recorded between 1902 and 1920, judiciously selected to accompany and enhance the narrative and chart his progress from lyrico-spinto to dramatic tenor.
I would perhaps have substituted other recordings for some chosen here, including more duets and ensembles beyond the couple already featuring, such as the trio from "Samson et Dalila" with Louise Homer and Marcel Journet, and the unearthly beauty of Caruso's falsetto at the close of the aria "Magiche note" from Goldmark's "Queen of Sheba", but these things are inevitably arbitrary and there is still much to savour. Anyone wanting more can go to the "Complete Caruso" series on Naxos, expertly re-mastered by Ward Marston. The versatility, variety and sheer quality of Caruso's recordings are well represented and there are some amusing photographs in the booklet, which contains fairly scanty track information and an even more condensed biographical note by the author. (A misprint on the note to track 19, CD1, has Caruso's debut at La Scala as 1990 instead of 1890.)
A great introduction to a great singer and a great man.