John Boulter - A Lanza wanna be???

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Tony Partington

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Mar 9, 2023, 7:55:16 AM3/9/23
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Hi Folks,

I was going through the unlocked LPs on archive.org and came across this intriguing recording. I know little to nothing about John Boulter except that, for me, his voice exhibits virtually everything wrong and unpleasant with the "British School" of voice training. There are others in this same ilk that come to mind. Namely David Whitfield. Anyway, the other thing I know about Boulter is that he was involved in the dreadful and racist idiom of the Minstrel Show. That aside though, I thought some folks might like to hear Mr. Boulter's reading of some of Mario's most iconic songs. "Because You're Mine" was a bit tough for me as it is one of my favorite songs and also because, by the end of the recording, I was genuinely worried for Mr. Boulter's health. I haven't checked the pitch yet, but it almost sounds like he decided to do it in a higher key than Mario. A real mistake that most singers, who truly know their voice's capabilities, don't make when covering one of Mario's recording. In all events, here's the link to John Boulter's recording. It is an LP rip.

Hope all is well with everyone,

Tony

P.S.: I guess someone thought highly of Boulter as RCA Victor signed him!? Also, here's the link to his wiki entry.


Derek McGovern

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Mar 16, 2023, 10:20:35 AM3/16/23
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Hi Tony: I vaguely remember seeing John Boulter on the Black and White Minstrel Show as a child. 

Yes, his "Because You're Mine" is hard to listen to. I don't think it's in a higher key, though---it's just that it's very brightly recorded with lots of reverb and Boulter's voice is a lyric one. 

Singing one of Mario's signature songs is not for the faint-hearted!

Cheers,
Derek 

 

Tony Partington

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Mar 19, 2023, 3:13:37 PM3/19/23
to mario...@googlegroups.com
Hi Derek! Yes, "not for the faint hearted." is a rather perfect way of putting it. Years ago, when I was doing club dates and concerts I included a tribute to Mario (of course). I had actually asked Maestro Callinicos to write out the improvised into he did on "Because You're Mine" for Mario at RAH s I was able to include that in my Mario medley. And, I will readily admit that all of the songs were in a lower key. At the time I thought to myself, geez Mario certainly sang these songs in a rather stratospheric key. And you know, he did sing a lot of songs in a higher key (perhaps a good example is "With A Song In My Heart"), but I think that speaks to where his voice lay naturally. Where he felt the strongest vocally. Another interesting point is that he had more vocal energy and stamina when he was a bit heavy. I don't remember if Armando touched on this in his book, but I know Maestro Callinicos told me, on more than one occasion, that Mario's ease with his upper voice was truly remarkable. I think that confidence and vocal security is on full display with his performance of "Lamento di Federico" at Royal Albert Hall. I mean, this is 1958 and Mario's not in the greatest shape physically (or health wise for that matter) and he sings this very difficult aria (I know because I studied it and performed it often. NOT always with the high B - Gigli's contribution to the tenor repertoire apparently). I think though that Mario knew his voice so well, and knew how far he could go with it. Note that I didn't say "push it." This is why I think the RAH recording is so remarkable and precious. Mario is vocally naked out there. And, as Maestro Callinicos noted in his book, the size of both the hall and the audience startled Mario. But his "vocal technique" is on full display. Is it a flawless performance? Not at all. But there are many moments where you can here Mario using his voice so very well. As has been recognized, the RAH recording is a testament to both Mario's talent and his skill as a classical singer.

Sorry to go on Derek. I'm afraid I didn't stick to John Boulter as topic. Just couldn't resist sharing some thoughts on Mario's amazing vocal technique and RAH.

Cheers!

Tony



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Tony Partington

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Mar 21, 2023, 8:58:47 AM3/21/23
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Hi Folks! Some attentive person has probably already posted this link, but I thought I'd post it anyway just in case it was new to anyone on the forum.. My guess is it was a promo appearance by Ann Blyth for THE STUDENT PRINCE (movie released on June 15, 1954). I say this based upon the date of the telecast. Anyway, here's a link to Ann Blyth singing "Deep In My Heart Dear"(as a solo of course) on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 14, 1954.

Ciao!

Tony

Derek McGovern

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Mar 23, 2023, 9:25:05 AM3/23/23
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Lovely singing from Ann Blyth, Tony. It's heartbreaking that Mario's not there with her, though!

I do agree that the Albert Hall Lamento is a remarkable rendition. No warmup piece from Mario at all in an acoustically challenging venue (packed with people wearing sound-absorbing winter clothes to boot, as one attendee reminisced); he just walks out and delivers that thrillingly vibrant rendition---complete, as you say, with an unwritten high B. The only thing that puzzles me is the restrained applause of the audience (especially compared to their reaction to some of the latter numbers), but then again perhaps they were all dazed by what they'd just heard!

Cheers,
Derek       

Tony Partington

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Mar 26, 2023, 10:14:28 AM3/26/23
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Derek,

Hello my friend. Sorry to be tardy in responding to your email. Yes, I would say dazed is an appropriate word. Can you imagine hearing that performance as the first time you heard Mario live. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but there are plenty of testaments to the "shock and awe" factor of Mario's voice.

I trust you are well Derek and that you and your loved ones have stayed safe and well throughout this rather tumultuous time in this crazy world.

All the best,

Tony

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