Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Famous Bad Tippers: Enrico Caruso

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM

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Enrico Caruso: Great singer, bad tipper

Last weekend, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City concluded its run of Puccini's opera Tosca, which was a favorite of the legendary Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) -- he's singing an aria from the opera here -- who was equally passionate about Italian food. But when it came to tipping the waiters, Caruso -- who was born in poverty in Naples -- was not so passionate.

Caruso's stinginess was reported in Studs Terkel's 1970 book Hard Times. Terkel interviewed former New York City restaurateur Tony Soma, who frequently waited on Caruso in the early 1900s. "He was a bad tipper," Soma recalled. Caruso performed in Kansas City in 1906, but there are no waiters still living, alas, who can testify to Caruso's graciousness when it came to gratuities.

(Image via Flickr: Audio Vault)

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