I had always sung, as far back as I can remember, for the pure love of it. My voice was contralto, and I sang in a church in Naples from fourteen till I was eighteen.
I know that I am a singer and an actor, yet in order to give the public the impression that I am neither one nor the other, but the real man conceived by the author, I have to feel and to think as the man the author had in mind.
It was he who impressed, time and again, the necessity of singing as nature intended, and - I remember - he constantly warned, don't let the public know that you work. So I went slowly. I never forced the voice.
It is too bad that the public expects from me, always, perfection which it is impossible for me always to attain. I am not a machine. I am a human being.
I never step upon a stage without asking myself whether I will succeed in finishing the opera. The fact is that a conscientious singer is never sure of himself or of anything. He is ever in the hands of Destiny.
The fact that I could secure an opera engagement made me realize I had within me the making of an artist, if I would really labor for such an end. When I became thoroughly convinced of this, I was transformed from an amateur into a professional in a single day.
To become a singer requires work, work, and again, work! It need not be in any special corner of the earth; there is no one spot that will do more for you than other places. It doesn't matter so much where you are if you have intelligence and a good ear.
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