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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.