Gloria Boh

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Derek McGovern

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Dec 22, 2014, 10:29:50 PM12/22/14
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As many of you know, I spoke to soprano Gloria Boh on the phone yesterday about her recording of the Act III Otello duet with Lanza in July, 1955.


What a delightful person Ms. Boh is! Even though she was still getting over a heavy cold, she was only too happy to share her memories of Mario Lanza with me, and she came across as an extremely warm, intelligent and articulate lady with an infectious sense of humor. She was most amused to hear that she had long been "the mystery singer" in the Lanza legacy! But more than anything else, she was amazed that her recording of the Otello duet had been heard by so many Lanza aficionados. She'd simply assumed that very few people knew of its existence, and, in fact, her own copy of the recording had long since deteriorated. She was thrilled to hear that I had a copy of it in reasonable sound quality, and, needless to say, I sent her the link immediately after our conversation. I also told her how much I hoped that BMG would one day release the recording commercially -- a wish that she also shares.

First, some background information on Ms. Boh ("please call me Gloria"). She was born in Ohio and is of Austrian ancestry. At the time that she recorded with Lanza, she was not a professional opera singer, but rather a student of singing in her late 20s. (That would put her in her early 80s now.) Her teacher was the one and only Giacomo Spadoni, who, as we know, was also Lanza's vocal coach -- and a very important musical figure in his life. (Among the many highlights of their eight-year association, Spadoni worked with Mario on the operatic material in Serenade and his 1949 Hollywood Bowl performance, as well as the second Shower of Stars Show, which he also conducted.)

In the early 1950s, Gaetano Merola, Music Director and Principal Conductor of the San Francisco Opera, invited Ms. Boh to spend six weeks with the Company -- not to perform as such, but to study and immerse herself in an operatic environment. (She was aware, incidentally, that Merola had invited Lanza to sing a one-off performance of Andrea Chenier at the San Francisco Opera, and recalled that Spadoni had the contract in his office.) It was at the San Francisco Opera that she met Mario del Monaco, whom she got to know (and liked). She even sang on one occasion for Del Monaco, recalling that he was "somewhat impressed" by her.   Gloria's singing career was abruptly interrupted, however, when she "met a professor and fell in love". Consequently, it was only later that she began performing on the operatic stage, beginning with a La Traviata in Los Angeles and then in a number of works with the Madison Opera Company.

It was Giacomo Spadoni who recommended Gloria to Lanza (and to Warner Bros.) At the time, Ms. Boh was aware that Licia Albanese had already been approached to sing Desdemona in "Serenade", but due to contractual problems on Albanese's part (presumably with her recording studio), it had seemed that Licia would be unable to take part in the film. Gloria was therefore the back-up person, and had Albanese remained unavailable, then Gloria would also have appeared in the movie. ("I was prepped for it," she recalled, and also undertook a screen test.) When it eventually emerged that Licia would indeed be singing in the film, Gloria -- happily, a great admirer of hers -- took the disappointment in her stride.

But before Ms. Boh was signed up for the film, there was the matter of the audition. On the day that she came to the studio to audition, she recalled, she was told that Mario would be sitting inside a vestibule waiting to hear her sing. If he approved of her singing, he would emerge; if not, he would remain inside the vestibule! She sang "Vissi d'Arte" from Tosca, and Mario emerged :-)

First of all, I asked her what Lanza was like as a person. "He was just a gentleman to me, " she said. "He seemed very polite and happy around me, and he talked in a very natural way. He was really a nice guy." Physically, he looked well to her at the time -- somewhat overweight, but nothing out of the ordinary. She sensed, however, that he was insecure about performing in public (and we talked a great deal about the ways in which Hollywood had undermined his confidence), and was not surprised when I mentioned his drinking problem. (She had noted that he was sipping wine during their recording - a big no-no, she pointed out, for the voice when one is performing.) 

But as a singer? "He had the stamina to do it all. While he needed the underpinning of a coach, he was a born singer and his voice was magnificent." She raved about the lyric beauty of his sound, and confirmed that he was a true lirico spinto. Interestingly, she mentioned that had been slightly disappointed with his singing when she first heard him in the movies -- feeling that he "oversang" somewhat in the early films -- but had no such disappointment when she encountered him in person.

As far as their recording was concerned, she remembers only doing retakes of the very beginning of the duet, and everything was completed on the one day (July 19, 1955). She had previously rehearsed alone with Heindorf and his orchestra (which, she pointed out, contained many former members of Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra.) [Mario, of course, had been working on the duet with Spadoni since 1954.] Spadoni was present throughout their recording, and guided them ("as a coach does"). Gloria was there in the studio right through to the end of Mario's "vil cortigiaNAAAA", which follows the duet (immediately before the Monologue), and vividly remembered his high C.

She chuckled when I said that he was naughty to have held onto it for so long when the tenor is only supposed to touch the note. She wasn't present, however, when he sang the Monologue two days later, but heard the recording and thought it wonderful. She also praised him for singing things in the film that were less familiar to the public at the time, including Nessun Dorma, which "was not so popular then". Interestingly, she also remembers listening to Sarah Vaughan's recording of the Schubert Ave Maria with Mario. They both liked her rendition very much, and she recalled that Lanza was studying this piece because he was planning to sing it in the film.

Gloria, incidentally, was very surprised when I told her that Lanza's first four lines on the recording with Albanese actually originated from her own session with him.

So there you have it! Although Gloria's time with Mario was relatively brief, he obviously made a lasting impression on her. "It was a very happy time in my life," she recalled. She chuckled when she remembered that he'd written "Gloria, I love you" over her "Otello book! For my own part, I was very impressed by her willingness to give up so much of her time to share her reminiscences with me. She was extremely knowledgeable about other singers as well (Di Stefano, for instance), and it's not every day that one meets a performer who's happy to talk at length about someone else. In fact, I told her so! (She laughed.) She was also delighted to hear about Armando's book, and very pleased that Lanza's legacy was still being honored. As she said toward the end of our conversation -- and with genuine delight -- "All of the tenors I've ever talked to idolize him."

Thank you, Gloria Boh.

ShawDAMAN

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Dec 11, 2008, 10:24:18 PM12/11/08
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This is just wonderful. Thanks so much, and thanks to Ms. Boh!
Any chance for a picture? :D

On Dec 11, 6:17 pm, "Derek McGovern" <derek.mcgov...@gmail.com> wrote:
> As many of you know, I spoke to soprano Gloria Boh on the phone
> yesterday about her recording of the Act III Otello duet with Lanza in
> July, 1955.
>
> What a delightful person Ms. Boh is! Even though she was still getting
> over a heavy cold, she was only too happy to share her memories of
> Mario Lanza with me, and she came across as an extremely warm,
> intelligent and articulate lady with an infectious sense of humor. She
> was most amused to hear that she had long been "the mystery singer" in
> the Lanza legacy! But more than anything else, she was amazed that her
> recording of the Otello duet had been heard by so many Lanza
> aficionados. She'd simply assumed that very few people knew of its
> existence, and, in fact, her own copy of the recording had long since
> deteriorated. She was thrilled to hear that I had a copy of it in
> reasonable sound quality, and, needless to say, I sent her the link
> (http://www.4shared.com/account/file/62159737/ceb85961/Dio_Ti_Giocondi...)
> immediately after our conversation. I also told her how much I hoped
> that BMG would one day release the recording commercially -- a wish
> that she also shares.
>
> First, some background information on Ms. Boh ("please call me
> Gloria"). She was born in Ohio and is of Austrian ancestry. At the
> time that she recorded with Lanza, she was not a professional opera
> singer, but rather a student of singing in her mid-20s. (That would
> put her in her late 70s now.) Her teacher was the one and only Giacomo
> Spadoni, who, as we know, was also Lanza's vocal coach -- and a very
> important musical figure in his life. (Among the many highlights of
> their eight-year association, Spadoni worked with Mario on the
> operatic material in Serenade and his 1949 Hollywood Bowl performance,
> as well as the second Shower of Stars Show, which he also conducted.)
> Gaetano Merola, Music Director and Principal Conductor of the San
> Francisco Opera, later invited Ms. Boh to spend six weeks with the
> Company -- not to perform as such, but to study and immerse herself in
> an operatic environment. (She was aware, incidentally, that Merola had
> invited Lanza to sing a one-off performance of Andrea Chenier at the
> San Francisco Opera, and recalled that Spadoni had the contract in his
> office.) It was at the San Francisco Opera that she met Mario del
> Monaco, whom she got to know (and liked). She even sang on one
> occasion for Del Monaco, recalling that he was "somewhat impressed" by
> her.   Gloria's singing career was abruptly interrupted, however, when
> she "met a professor and fell in love". Consequently, it was only
> later that she began performing on the operatic stage, beginning with
> a La Traviata in Los Angeles and then in a number of works with the
> Madison Opera Company.
>
> It was Giacomo Spadoni who recommended Gloria to Lanza (and to Warner
> Bros.) At the time, Ms. Boh was aware that Licia Albanese had already
> been approached to sing Desdemona in "Serenade", but due to
> contractual problems on Albanese's part (presumably with her recording
> studio), it had seemed that Licia would be unable to take part in the
> film. Gloria was therefore the back-up person, and had Albanese
> remained unavailable, then Gloria would also have appeared in the
> movie. ("I was prepped for it," she recalled, and also undertook a
> screen test.) When it eventually emerged that Licia would indeed be
> singing in the film, Gloria -- happily, a great admirer of hers --
> took the disappointment in her stride.
>
> But before Ms. Boh was signed up for the film, the deal with Warner
> Bros. was that she would first have to be approved by Lanza. On the

Lou

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Dec 11, 2008, 10:54:17 PM12/11/08
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Hi Derek: What a gracious lady our "mystery singer" turned out to be!
And a romantic one, too, choosing love over her singing career.
(Shades of Jan Hodges!) I'm glad you were able to replace her
deteriorated copy of her Otello duet with Mario as a treasured (I'm
sure) memento of that "very happy time in my life."

I'm amused by her anecdote about Mario's hiding inside a vestibule
waiting to hear her sing. Was he afraid that seeing him while she sang
would intimidate her? And didn't want to witness her disappointment
should he not approve of her singing? I'm also struck by Mario's
refreshing naturalness in Ms. Boh's company, letting her listen with
him to Sarah Vaughan's recording of Ave Maria. It remind's me of
Pavarotti sheepishly showing an interviewer a recording of Domingo's
that he was listening to in preparation for his own Otello recital.

Thank you, Ms. Boh. You, too, Derek.

Muriel

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Dec 11, 2008, 11:48:27 PM12/11/08
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Derek, I've given you five stars for this wonderful interview with
Gloria Boh. If I could give you twenty-five, it wouldnt be enough.
It's clear that you charmed Ms. Boh as much as she charmed you. To
have gotten all this enlightening information from one short telephone
conversation shows the quick rapport the two of you developed right
away. You obviously asked the right questions and put her at her ease,
and she, in turn, took pleasure in recounting her positive adventure
of singing with Mario.

It would seem that Mario held her singing in high regard as well. Can
you imagine, as we are thrilled at his vocal prowess by listening to
recordings, how she must have felt singing *live* with him???? And
singing Otello to boot!! What a magnanimous artist and lady she must
be! I'm so glad you were the one she encountered to relate such fond
memories. She said Mario was idolized by all tneors she ever talked
to. That is probably *the* best definitive praise one could ever hope
to be awarded.

I'm tremendously touched and delighted to have read this account
tonight.

Mille gracie...Muriel

Jan Hodges

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Dec 12, 2008, 1:17:29 AM12/12/08
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Thanks so much Derek. What a scoop to be able to contact her and get such a wonderful interview. Just when you think there is nothing new we can find out about Mario  lo and behold you manage to get this interview.Wonderful recollections.
Jan
faint_grain.jpg

gary from N.S.

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Dec 12, 2008, 6:47:02 AM12/12/08
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Hello Derek,

I don't know what to say..I was away (working) yesterday,and could not
get into the forum through my work pc,and I knew you were going to
post about your interview with this lovely lady.
Soon as I arrived home this am I checked the forum,and read with
complete relish your writing of this wonderful interview.
This was like opening up an early Christmas present!! Job well done.
Cheers
Gary
>  faint_grain.jpg
> 1KViewDownload

Maria Luísa

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Dec 12, 2008, 11:21:34 AM12/12/08
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Is heavenly to read such praising words coming from a person who
actually sang with Mario himself, can you imagine?! A very sweet lady
I'm sure given her honest words respecting Mario. Reading such lovely
statement from a colleague who besides of singing also talked and
laughed with him, believing she got to know him more than a little,
makes one forget for a moment how so undeservedly badly Hollywood
treated him. Thank you very much for this wonderful interview, Derek.

On Dec 11, 11:17 pm, "Derek McGovern" <derek.mcgov...@gmail.com>
Message has been deleted

Vince Di Placido

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Dec 12, 2008, 2:01:29 PM12/12/08
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Absolutey fantastic! Great work, Derek! I realy enjoyed reading your
post. We are so lucky to have you!

Derek McGovern

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Dec 12, 2008, 6:43:29 PM12/12/08
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Thanks for the kind words re my Gloria Boh post, everyone. I wrote the
post in a bit of a hurry, and have since noticed a couple of pesky
typos -- but never mind!

One thing I should correct, however, is the time frame of Gloria Boh's
six weeks with the San Francisco Opera (where she met Del Monaco). I'd
written that she went there after "Serenade", but
since Gaetano Merola, Musical Director of the SF Opera died in 1953,
clearly it was earlier. (Probably 1952, as I think she said that
Merola died the following year.)

But it was very good to get further confirmation of Merola's Andrea
Chenier offer to Lanza in 1950. Merola was an important person in the
music world, and he had the highest opinion of Lanza's
voice. He was 69 in 1950, and would have heard all the greats. His
estimation, therefore, that Lanza had in him the makings of the next
Caruso (as conductor John Green told Armando) was a
significant one.

I should also clarify that the Madison Opera Company, with which
Gloria Boh was associated, is in Wisconsin. It was formed in 1961.

Shawn: No, I didn't get any photos of Ms. Boh! It never crossed my
mind to ask her, actually. She may well have photos of herself with
Mario. There were also several questions that I had written
down in front of me, but somehow neglected to ask. Still, I may get to
meet her one of these days, and you can be sure I'll ask then!

Lou: I loved the Sarah Vaughan story too. I've always liked her
singing (especially the less jazzy stuff), and I found it intriguing
that Mario was studying her rendition (for inspiration?). I must look
out for that recording.

ShawDAMAN

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Dec 14, 2008, 1:09:56 PM12/14/08
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Oh well. :D By the way did she say if she ever performed the complete
role of Desdemona on stage?

Thanks again.

Derek McGovern

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Dec 14, 2008, 3:48:00 PM12/14/08
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Hi Shawn: No, she didn't say, and I didn't ask her! But since the
Madison Opera Company has never presented Otello, it's a fairly safe
bet that she never sang the role of Desdemona on stage.

I must say that she does very well on her recording with Mario for a
non-professional, as she was at the time. It must have been a daunting
occasion for someone so young and inexperienced! But obviously Lanza
put her completely at ease. In fact, she contrasted his warm, natural
manner with that of his co-star Vincent Price, who tended to "talk
down" to people. (Price must have been different toward Lanza,
however, as a couple of years later Mario referred to him as one of
his favourite film colleagues.)

ShawDAMAN

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Dec 14, 2008, 5:03:11 PM12/14/08
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Ah. That prettymuch answers that. :D

Yes I agree- in fact, although Albanese no doubt had more natural
vocal endowments, Boh in some ways evoked the terrified young wife to
my mind even more.

That's interesting about Price. :) A very underused actor IMO. Aside
from "Laura" (a long time favorite in my family) he was mostly in
ghastly, cheap horror movies. I know little about his personality
though. Although I watched a documentary about him once but I hardly
remember it other than he loved art. :P
But I'm getting off topic. Thanks again

Mike McAdam

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Dec 15, 2008, 9:26:36 AM12/15/08
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Providence must have dropped a cat like you into the Lanza world,
Mr.McGovern.
Well done.! A great scoop after your diligent, follow-up detective
work from Lou's earlier lead.
I'm thinking that, some day soon, you may slide very naturally into a
role (post-thesis, of course:-) that your former Kiwi friend filled so
well.....that of media musical interviewer sans pareil.
Good stuff, Derek.
M.
> > his favourite film colleagues.)- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Maria Luísa

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Dec 15, 2008, 9:43:11 AM12/15/08
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To be very honest I'm not much propense to listen to sopranos with
some good exceptions.I much prefer tenors' voices as do my sisters too
(contrarily to my brothers who as boys naturally prefer dames' with
also some good exceptions, one of them being Mario's) but Miss Boh's
delicate but simultaneously firm (in place) very beautiful tone of
voice was a big pleasant surprise of which I was not expecting at all
honestly speaking being she so very young back then.

I appreciated very much L. Albanese great singing in Serenade - for
some good reason she was chosen for the part by Mario himself - but
had Miss Boh's replaced her (as I understand she could have) and is my
belief that her interpretation would have resulted equally wonderfully
well. A special thank you to Derek for that fantastic link, a
recording incredibly in a perfectly good audible condition and so more
delightful yet to listen to.

I too welcome you Sean. One more big, big fan of Mario joining the
true biggest fans of them all.

Sean Glass

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Dec 15, 2008, 6:13:38 PM12/15/08
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Thankyou! Yes it's wonderful being 'around' these rop-notch Lanza fans.
 
Regards!

Derek McGovern

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Jan 8, 2009, 1:29:24 PM1/8/09
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I spoke to Gloria Boh again this week, partly to clarify a few of her
earlier comments, but also to ask her some additional questions.

Shawn: You'll be disappointed to know that Gloria doesn't have any
photos of herself with Mario. "If only!" she said. But I have asked
her if she could supply me with a pic of herself around the time of
her Otello recording, and she's promised to have a look through her
photo albums for one.

Ms. Boh again brought up how much she'd liked Lanza as a person.
"There was no stiffness about him," she said. "Meeting him for the
first time was just like meeting a member of your own family." She
didn't sense any of the sadness that Montiel later detected in him: "A
little nostalgia, perhaps, but not melancholy." He could also be quite
humorous, she recalled. (Well, no surprises there!! :-))

Gloria wasn't present inside the actual studio during any of the other
recordings that Mario made for Serenade, but clearly remembers the day
that he recorded Nessun Dorma, as she could hear him singing it from
wherever she was standing at the time! As for the Otello duet, she
recalled that on the day they recorded it (having previously rehearsed
it just once together with piano on the day of her successful
audition), she couldn't see Mario's face from her position in the
studio. "Nor would I have wanted to!" she added, given how terrifying
both the music and the nature of Lanza's interpretation of Otello
were.

She again raved over the magnificence of Lanza's voice.

Interestingly, Ms. Boh has never seen the Serenade film, nor did she
ever see the film script (which, in any event, was still being
rewritten at the time of her Otello recording with Lanza). But she
recalls seeing Joan Fontaine rehearsing a scene with a young actor
(possibly the fellow who plays the sculptor?) on the same day that she
had her successful screen test at the studios.

She also recalled that both Renata Tebaldi and Victoria de Los Angeles
were mentioned at one stage as possible Desdemonas to Mario's Otello in the film
(though, presumably, neither was ever formally approached). Goodness,
imagine if the fabulous Tebaldi had performed the duet with Lanza!!
(Later, of course, Tebaldi did meet Mario on the Serenade set, and, as
Armando subsequently learned, spent a memorable evening at his home,
during which the two sang together.)

After Serenade, Gloria continued working with Giacomo Spadoni, and it
was only when the latter suffered a debilitating stroke that their
teacher-pupil association ended. (Spadoni's right side was affected by
the stroke, which meant he could no longer play the piano.) She
recalled visiting him in hospital.

So there you have it: more fascinating reminiscences from the
delightful Ms. Boh.

ShawDAMAN

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Jan 8, 2009, 1:43:30 PM1/8/09
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Great stuff, again! Thanks

Dissapointing yes :D but any photo would of course be welcome ;)

Joe Fagan

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Jan 8, 2009, 3:33:43 PM1/8/09
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great reporting , Derek, maybe you missed your calling!...Joe

Mike McAdam

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Jan 9, 2009, 8:13:52 AM1/9/09
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Well, Derek me son.....you are a sleuth and Mario historian without
equal.
Great follow-up with Ms Boh.
I still feel in my bones that the future Dr. Derek will leave teaching
and end up in the down-under broadcast media as a film and music
interviewer of considerable stature. It would be a "Kiwi
Tragedy" (apologies, Armando:-) if he didn't.
M.
> > delightful Ms. Boh.- Hide quoted text -

zsazsa

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Jan 9, 2009, 4:04:06 PM1/9/09
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Hi Derek, I enjoyed very much your post about your talking with Gloria
Boh,
she sounds a very nice and interesting person, it is really great to
hear about
her as she was a really great partner of MARIO as Desdemona, we were
always
very much interested how is it possible that we`ve never heard about
her before,
when we`ve heard this wonderful Duett singing so great, it was about
10 years
ago, when we`ve heard about for the first time! Thanks a lot Derek and
I
want to greet you all as I`m a new member of this Forum and do hope
we`ll have some interesting and enjoyable discussing here!
Cheerio for now dear Friends! Sempre MARIO! Always and Forever!!


On 12 Dez. 2008, 00:17, "Derek McGovern" <derek.mcgov...@gmail.com>

Armando

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Jan 9, 2009, 5:20:39 PM1/9/09
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No need to apologise Mike:-). I am both a great admirer and staunch
supporter of Dr. Derek. He is not only a highly intelligent individual
with a superb mastery of the English language, but also someone whose
enthusiasm for championing Mario Lanza and endeavouring to seek out
the facts knows no bounds.
His analytical mind and diplomatic skills would make him an
outstanding interviewer, author, or whatever other facet of the media
he might choose to work in.
In the meantime we all benefit from his brilliant handling of this
Lanza site, which leaves the other two sites drowning in an ocean of
trivia!

Mike McAdam

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Jan 17, 2009, 10:51:31 PM1/17/09
to The Mario Lanza Forum
Hello all: Derek and I were talking about the clean, bright-sounding
(and speed-corrected) duet he uploaded to this thread a while ago. He
suggested that I tack the monologue from one of my pristine sources on
the end and re-upload the whole enchilada J. So, here it is, as
seamless a tack/splice as I could manage. The monologue is taken from
my Serenade/Cavalcade commercial CD.
See what you think. I chose a higher quality mp3 mode so the file is
quite large; 10 meg (only an issue for those of you still on dial-up,
like me?).

http://www.macadamedia.com/music/OtelloDuet,Monologue-splice.mp3

Cheers, Mike
> > > - Show quoted text -- Hide quoted text -

Derek McGovern

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Jan 17, 2009, 11:20:36 PM1/17/09
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Hi Mike: Many thanks for doing this. Your splice is well-nigh perfect
considering the fact that I'd clipped a second or two off Mario's
dramatic "d'Otello" right before the Monologue! And, if I'm not
mistaken, the sound on the duet is cleaner as well?

It's interesting how the sound changes when Lanza sings "Una possente
maga ne ordia lo stame arcano" and "Giura e ti danna. . ." (among
other lines). Gloria Boh told me that the recording engineers got
Lanza to wear what she called an "echo mike" on his lapel, and on
these lines it's almost as if Lanza has stepped back from the main
mike and we're hearing him as we would in an opera house. It's not
that typical close-miked technique that was usually used on his film
soundtracks (especially at MGM). This makes sense, given that the duet
is sung in an opera house in the film.

Mike McAdam

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Jan 25, 2009, 9:12:59 PM1/25/09
to The Mario Lanza Forum
the "professor" is busy hammering away at his thesis (hopefully:-) so
maybe Armando can tell me where the Dio Ti Giocondi and Dio Mi Potevi,
Scagliar are found in the stage production of this Opera?
Does the end of the duet segué right into the monologue with that
dramatic orchestral bridge as in RCA's recording or are they sung in
different acts/scenes in the Opera? Curious.
Tks. M.

Muriel

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Jan 25, 2009, 10:32:37 PM1/25/09
to The Mario Lanza Forum
Hi Michael: I've been absent, but have tried to follow the threads
here when I can (long story). I'll try to answer your query. The Dio
Ti Giocondi is Scene II of Act III. Iago has told Otello that he saw
Cassio with the handkerchief Otello gave Desdemona and has done his
best to undo Otello's mind. Act II, Scene V. In Scene I of Act III,
Iago tells Otello to watch Cassio's supposedly damning actions and
have patience. He sees Desdemona coming along and mentions the
handkerchief to Otello once again.

Then in Scene II Desdemona (knowing nothing of Iago's terrible deeds)
sings Dio... asking Otello how he is, expecting nothing amiss. Otello
goes on to ask for the handkerchief as he seems to have some malady
and she offers him the one she has with her. But he sees that it isn't
the one he gave her and he goes ballistic and scares the bejeebies out
of her. "Il fazzoletto!!!", and "Giura e ti danna!!!", etc. They go
back and forth until Otello sends her out of the room and he then goes
into "Dio! Mi potevi scagliar tutti mali"..., which is actually Scene
III. In Scene IV Iago comes back, saying Cassio has arrived. In Scene
V, Iago makes Otello hide and then he sets Cassio up to look guilty.

Yes, the Monologue immediately follows the duet after Otello sends
Desdemona away. Hope I haven't confused you....

Muriel

Muriel

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Jan 25, 2009, 10:48:55 PM1/25/09
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Maybe I should put it this way: Scene II of Act III is the Dio ti
Giocondi and immediately following is Scene III, Act III, with Dio mi
potevi scagliar, which actually ends in Scene IV when Otello sings
"Ah! Dannazione! Pria confessi il delitto e poscia muoia! Confessione!
Confessione! " Iago comes in saying "La prova!", "Cassio e la!", and
Otello finishes with "La?! Cielo! Gioia!!". They all follow seamlessly
as we hear them singing, but are technically divided in this way.

Ahime!!!

Armando

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Jan 25, 2009, 11:29:11 PM1/25/09
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Brilliant piece of editing, or actually joining, Mike.

That’s exactly how it is in the score.

The orchestral bridge follows the duet and then it’s straight into the
monologue.

Well done!
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Tonytenor

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Jan 26, 2009, 10:41:18 AM1/26/09
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Hi Mike,

I hope I can help answer your question. The duet, "Dio ti giocondi"
and Otello's monologue, "Dio mi potevi" do follow one another as it is
on the SERENADE soundtrack disc. This particular section of the opera
comes at the beginning of the third act and is one heck of a scene
both vocally and theatrically.

Cheers,

Tony

Mike McAdam

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Jan 27, 2009, 9:21:09 AM1/27/09
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Lou: actually, I wasn't talking 'musicalese' to Armando. What Muriel
(and Armando) explained was exactly what I was wondering about; i.e:
on stage, does the monologue actually follow the duet as it is in the
'Serenade' soundtrack recording we all know? Yes, I'm told. Great. You
would have explained it the same way I gather? I thank you, kind lady.

Muriella: thank you for that. You gave me the blow-by-blow explanation
which was great as I can now marry up what is going on plot-wise with
the singing and music. A very illuminating "ramble" :-) Great to see
that the medics have reduced your pain at least enuff for you to type.
Nice to see you are on the mend but take it easy, gal....we've missed
you.

Armando: thank you for that feedback. Between Derek and my recordings,
I can confidently say that we now have the complete Boh/Lanza aria
combo in as good a sound as the Albanese/Lanza soundtrack combo. I've
saved the former to disc as a high quality .cda file in case my PC has
any unexpected and destructive 'hiccups' (as is their wont).
Cheers, Mike

On Jan 26, 2:01 am, Lou <louab...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> That makes two of us, Muriel.:-) Your "rambling" could have been my
> own as I didn't realize Mike was talking musicalese to Armando.
>
> On Jan 26, 12:46 pm, Muriel <mawscompu...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > Whoops! Ignore my rambling. I misunderstood the question......
>
> > Good job, Michael........M

Muriel

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Jan 31, 2009, 6:46:04 AM1/31/09
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Thanks for the rescue, Michael! I was, of course, looking at the
libretto when I wrote my post. I wanted to add something: the "bridge"
music that we hear between the "Dio to giocondi" and "Dio! mi potevi
scagliar" takes place as Otello walks from the door he has pushed
Desdemona through, to the center of the stage. The notes indicate that
he walks in great dejection.

I love this piece of music. It is what we hear as we see the plane
flying from San Francisco to New York for Damon Vincenti's Met debut
in the film, Serenade. Even without knowing the storyline, we can
imagine the turmoil going on Otello's mind. The swirling reminds me of
the extreme raging of the waves in the ocean during a hurricaine or
other destructive storm. It is a powerful piece of work from Verdi. I
am always moved by it.

(BTW, I now have mostly numbness and tingling left in my arm, but not
the sharp pain as before. I think the traction is taking hold -
fingers crossed!)

Ciao for now.....Muriel
> ...
>
> read more »- Hide quoted text -
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Derek McGovern

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Jun 5, 2010, 10:06:47 PM6/5/10
to mario...@googlegroups.com
It's just been pointed out to me that the link to the unreleased
Lanza-Boh recording of Dio Ti Giocondi given earlier in this thread is
no longer working.

Here's one that *does* work (and do check out this wonderful recording
if you've never heard it):

http://www.4shared.com/audio/eyHdnt7U/Dio_Ti_Giocondi__with_Boh_.html

It ends rather abruptly, I'm afraid, as the Monologue that immediately
follows it was on a separate track.

Mike McAdam

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Jun 7, 2010, 9:20:05 PM6/7/10
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Hi folks:
Derek's post here twigged me that I forgot to slide the Boh, Lanza
Duet & Monologue splice I cobbled together a while back over to
4Shared. It was left behind on my now-defunct website. Here it is
again but in a lower quality 6Meg version vs the old 10Meg one (dial-
up, ya know):

http://www.4shared.com/audio/CgeCXcWN/ActIIIOtelloDuetMonologue-BohL.html

(tech note: the Duet was from Derek's mp3 sent to me some time ago and
the Monologue I took from my 'Serenade/Cavalcade' CD. I made the final
audio a little brighter on the high end. It was a bit boomy on the
monologue)
Let me know if it sounds okay on your speakers/headphones?
Cheers, Mike
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Derek McGovern

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Jun 11, 2010, 10:38:21 PM6/11/10
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Sounds good to me, Mike! In fact, I can't really tell the difference,
soundwise, between the supposedly higher quality of the version of the
duet I posted and your one.

I've just listened to the whole thing (duet and aria), and this part
really stood out for me during the scene with Desdemona/Gloria at
8:33: "Il più nero delitto sovra il candido giglio della tua fronte è
scritto" (The blackest sin is written on the whiteness of your
forehead). This just before Otello calls Desdemona a "vil cortigiana"
(a vile courtesan), and Lanza's delivery is really quite chilling here
-- more so, in fact, than on the later recording with Albanese. No
wonder Gloria Boh was happy not to be looking at Mario when he was
singing these lines!!

If anyone would like to follow the Italian libretto for the duet and
aria *with* the English translation, then simply click here and then
scroll down to "Scena Seconda":

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/music/reserves/cd264/text/act03_part1.html

Derek McGovern

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Jan 28, 2011, 11:46:35 PM1/28/11
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I was delighted to receive two photos today from Armando of soprano Gloria Boh, both taken around the time of her recording with Lanza. Armando actually visited Gloria in her New York apartment a few days ago, and passed a very happy hour with her. 

Rest assured that I'll be including one of those photos of Gloria on our new website!   

Lou

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Feb 1, 2011, 11:23:58 PM2/1/11
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Hi Derek: I saw that lovely picture, with the affectionate dedication to you and Armando, in the new site's Scrapbook.  Armando was on a roll with meeting notables from Lanza's past on his recent trip: first Tomiko, then Gloria. If only he was finally able to get hold of the unaccountably secretive Dr. Silvestri. But let's not give up hope. There's life in the old boy yet,  so the Lanza world might still luck out with a deathbed confession. 

Derek McGovern

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Feb 1, 2011, 11:39:58 PM2/1/11
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Hi Lou: Before I forget, I love that photo of you that you've chosen for your profile!

Here's another memento from Armando's meeting with Gloria Boh: the inscribed (by Lanza) Otello score that she'd mentioned during our chats:


Derek McGovern

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Sep 3, 2011, 9:58:09 PM9/3/11
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I've just updated the article on Gloria Boh on our main site to include a photo of her with Armando in January of this year:

http://www.mariolanzatenor.com/firsthand-accounts-of-working-with-lanza-gloria-boh.html

Derek McGovern

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Dec 22, 2014, 10:45:57 PM12/22/14
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There was recently some heated discussion on the Rense forum about Gloria Boh and her first meeting with Lanza at the Warner Bros studio in 1955, as described in my article on her. It was this part that led to all the fuss: 

 Before Ms. Boh was signed up for [Serenade], there was the matter of her audition.  
On the day that she came Warner Bros. to audition, she recalled, she was told that Lanza would be sitting inside a vestibule waiting to hear her sing. If he approved of her singing, he would emerge; if not, he would remain inside the vestibule! She sang "Vissi d'Arte" from Tosca....and Lanza emerged.
  
"What a crappy way to treat a young singer!" regular poster Martino thundered. Rather than remaining in the vestibule, Lanza should have been prepared to provide Ms. Boh with a detailed critique of her singing if she hadn't pleased him, he declared. When I suggested that Lanza really wouldn't have been under any moral obligation to do so, Martino hit the roof, calling me "foolish" and my rationale "preposterous." 

Anyway, I decided to give Ms. Boh a call this morning, partly to ask her if she felt that Lanza had behaved in "a crappy way," but also to catch up with her. (We hadn't spoken since 2009.)

I'm delighted to report that Gloria was in fine form, with her memory sharp as a tack---she even remembered exactly what she'd told me in our previous discussions---and that she's still an active operagoer. (We talked a lot about contemporary singers such as Kaufmann and Hvorostovsky.)  Not bad for someone born in 1927!

And, no, she wasn't in the slightest bit offended by Lanza remaining inside a vestibule while she was performing her audition. She thought the whole thing was "funny" (as in "amusing"), and felt sure that Mario had only done it so as not to embarrass her in the event that he hadn't liked her singing. In fact, she only knew that he was there because coach Giacomo Spadoni had whispered that piece of information to her on the way in!

(Spadoni, incidentally, had quite the temper, she recalled: "If he didn't like the way a woman sang, he would throw the music on the floor.")

She again spoke of Lanza's warmth and kindness and complete lack of airs---"He was very supportive"---and how they would sometimes walk together and talk. And of course she raved once more about the Lanza voice itself.

Gloria also expressed surprise when I mentioned that, to this day, Lanza's detractors insist that he had a small voice. "Oh, why do they say such things?!" she reacted. She was equally surprised when I brought up Bessette's theory that Lanza had suffered from bipolar disorder: "I didn't see any sign of that," she commented.

Anyway, I trust the content of this post will be relayed back to the Rense forum, and that Martino will revise his opinion of Lanza's supposedly "crappy" behavior :)  

Cheers,
Derek   

Derek McGovern

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Dec 22, 2014, 12:19:38 AM12/22/14
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Since Gloria Boh is featured prominently on the upcoming CD Mario Lanza: Greatest Operatic Recordings, I thought I'd revive this old thread. 

leeann

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Dec 24, 2014, 11:21:37 PM12/24/14
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Just to throw in a little historical perspective here--behind-the-screen auditions for opera singers were nothing new by the time Gloria Boh had that experience.

Among organizations who utilized them to find new talent?  None other than the Metropolitan Opera. In 1935 the Met's then-director Edward Johnson shifted from auditioning singers at the Met itself to a new program called Auditions of the Air.

It was a fantastic program which, actually, continues today (conducted differently) as the the National Council Auditions. But the Met was looking for new talent, and the Auditions of the Air  enabled them to reach out to greater numbers and to nurture and develop new singers. During the first four years of the program alone, judges assessed the voices of almost 3,000 singers--mostly American.

And here's how they did it in the early years: During preliminary trials, judges sat in a control room behind the audition stage. Singers had appointments and waited in a reception room outside the studio for their carefully scheduled appointments. Twenty to 30 people sang in a single afternoon. 

But the thing is, these were blind auditions. Singers never, ever saw the judges who sat behind a stage, invisible to the performers. Singers waited. They sang. They left.  And then waited longer to hear whether they'd made it to the next stage of auditions.

Stakes were high. For 26 weeks each year, about 225 semi-finalists from among the thousands who auditioned sang on a weekly radio program. Eight finalists were then chosen to debut at the Met and to receive a cash award of $1,000 each.

And who won--and who almost did, but not quite? Leonard Warren (winner), Risë Stevens (runner-up), Eleanor Steber, and Robert Merrill were among the many brought to the Met’s attention through the Auditions of the Air.

The program lasted for 20 years. So, by the time Gloria Boh came along, blind auditions were an old story for young, new artists.

In modern times, we maybe hear more about behind-the-screen auditions for orchestras than we do for voice. Those began extensively in the 1970s and continue today. They've had interesting consequences. For one thing, their use has significantly helped to lessen gender bias. Around 1970, women comprised less than 5 percent of the members of the top five orchestras in the United States. By the end of the twentieth century, as a result of blind auditions, numbers were up to 25-30 percent--and not just for instruments like the harp traditionally thought of as "women's music."

We each look at history differently, form our own opinions about rights and wrongs of the past (except perhaps those that are blatantly inhuman and evil), but sometimes, historical context helps us at least look a little more objectively at what was or wasn't acceptable at a given time.

In any event, I'll stick with Gloria Boh's point-of-view of her experience with Lanza. It's only fair.

Vincent Di Placido

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Dec 25, 2014, 2:40:52 AM12/25/14
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Interesting post Leann.
It also brings to mind the premise of the TV talent show, "The Voice" where 4 judges listen to auditions facing away from the singer & only turn around & see the singer if they like what they hear, nobody considers this rude & the show is a worldwide success!

Derek McGovern

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Dec 25, 2014, 6:04:20 AM12/25/14
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I agree with Vince: very interesting, Lee Ann! I appreciate your putting Lanza's supposedly egregious behaviour into historical context for us. In fact, your post reminded me that New Zealand's premier classical singing competition---the Mobil Song Quest---used to be judged by voice alone; the judges couldn't see the contestants, and vice versa. I don't recall anyone ever complaining that it was unfair.

Yes, I'm happy to stick with Gloria's view of the whole experience as well. While I can think of plenty of things that one might legitimately criticize Lanza for, this doesn't even remotely rate for me on the list of Mario Misbehaviour :)   

Cheers,
Derek
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