Take Our Mario Lanza Quizzes!

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Derek McGovern

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Jun 12, 2015, 9:35:41 AM6/12/15
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Vince's posting the other day of a contestant's performance on the British Mastermind whose specialty was Mario Lanza has inspired me to create my own Lanza quiz:


There are thirty questions of varying difficulty, all with multiple-choice answers. Take the quiz, and then let us know how you got on!    

Vincent Di Placido

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Oct 13, 2013, 7:39:34 AM10/13/13
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I need to do my homework :-(
I didn't do too well at all... My excuse is I wasnt really awake yet :-)
Great quiz though, Derek, some tricky stuff there.
 

Derek McGovern

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Oct 13, 2013, 8:24:23 AM10/13/13
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Thanks for giving it a go, Vince! 

(And do let us know if there's anything in the quiz that surprised you.)

Depending on the amount of time I have over the coming weeks, I may add the occasional quiz on specific subjects (e.g. films, recordings) at some stage. Any suggestions are welcome!

Cheers
Derek 

P.S. All quiz guesses are anonymous---I can't see IP addresses or even the participants' countries---so anyone who takes part should have no fear about being embarrassed :)  

Barnabas Nemeth

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Oct 13, 2013, 10:46:33 AM10/13/13
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I have done it at 47%, but frankly, it was difficult somewhere, and somewhere not too relevant. Otherwise good play and it should be repeated. Barnabas

Joseph Fagan

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Oct 13, 2013, 10:41:38 AM10/13/13
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I hope your tests for your students are easier! I flunked also in the mid forties but a fun puzzle. Creative idea.

Joe


On Sun, Oct 13, 2013 at 9:42 AM, Barnabas Nemeth <barnaba...@gmail.com> wrote:
I have done it at 47%, but frankly, it was difficult somewhere, and somewhere not too relevant. Otherwise good play and it should be repeated. Barnabas


2013/10/13 Derek McGovern <derek.m...@gmail.com>
Thanks for giving it a go, Vince! 

(And do let us know if there's anything in the quiz that surprised you.)

Depending on the amount of time I have over the coming weeks, I may add the occasional quiz on specific subjects (e.g. films, recordings) at some stage. Any suggestions are welcome!

Cheers
Derek 

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Derek McGovern

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Oct 13, 2013, 11:12:50 AM10/13/13
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Hi Barnabas: My quiz questions were "not too relevant"? Ouch!! 

Hi Joe: You're welcome to give the quiz another shot any time you like. I've also changed the penultimate question ("Who produced the Mario! album?"), as the answer doesn't appear in any Lanza biography, and we can't be 100% sure it's correct. It was grumpy Paul Baron, conductor of Caruso Favorites and the Student Prince and Christmas stereo album remakes, who told me he had produced the Mario! album. I had no reason to doubt him---and he talked about his admiration for its conductor---but then again you never know. So out it goes.

Anyway, question #29 is now an easier question for some, and hopefully more interesting for those who don't know the answer.

Cheers
Derek 

Steff

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Oct 13, 2013, 4:10:34 PM10/13/13
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Hi Derek,
 
I had four questions wrong ( I think I had 86 % okay).
I was wrong with the time span in which Mario performed with the Bel Canto Trio. For some reason I thought that they already started to tour in 1946, but apparently I mixed this up with Mario only appearing with Frances Yeend at Grant Park in 1946. Yet I was somewhat confused when I saw the caption in Armando's book to a publicity photo of the Bel Canto Trio (photo no.27) which has the year 1946. This caption might not be correct then. Maybe it was corrected in the second edition? I think my copy is the first edition, so I cannot check myself.
 
Steff

leeann

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Oct 13, 2013, 4:53:07 PM10/13/13
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Not a passing grade here, but great, great fun! Now on to the new "Rate this Recording: All the Things You Are." Lee Ann

Armando

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Oct 13, 2013, 6:20:39 PM10/13/13
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Sorry about the confusion, Steff. The photo was actually taken in 1946 as part of the advance publicity for the 1947 tour. Regardless, an 86% score is pretty impressive!  

Armando

Armando

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Oct 13, 2013, 8:16:35 PM10/13/13
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Hi Barnabas: I think that as well as being informative, Derek intended the quiz to be a bit of fun, therefore, I’m surprised that you found it not too relevant-after all I don’t think it was intended as a test for admission to a university.:-) 

Armando

Derek McGovern

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Oct 13, 2013, 7:47:37 PM10/13/13
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Hi Steff: 86% is a great score! You'd get an A in my university class :) There are some tricky questions in that quiz.

As for thinking that the Bel Canto Trio tour started in 1946, well, you're certainly not the only one to have thought that---Roland Bessette even makes the same mistake in his biography! And while it's true that Lanza did perform at least four concerts with Frances Yeend (two in Chicago in July 1946 and two more in January 1947 in St. Louis) before the Bel Canto Trio tour took place, most of 1946---and roughly the first half of 1947---was devoted to serious study with Rosati. However, as Armando notes in his book, Rosati did encourage Lanza to perform the occasional concert during that period in order to gain poise and confidence.

Incidentally, I hope to have a new feature ready for our site in a week or two that chronologically lists all known public performances by Lanza. 

Cheers
Derek 

Steff

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Oct 14, 2013, 7:00:14 AM10/14/13
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Hi Derek,
 
Well, I have to admit that without the multiple choice options it would not have been that easy!
 

Steff

Steff

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Oct 14, 2013, 7:09:10 AM10/14/13
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Hi Armando,
 
I was not aware that the advance publicity started so early (in 1946), given the fact that the concert tour of the BelCanto Trio only started in July 1947. Somehow I thought that the Bel Canto Trio was only founded in 1947.
 
Steff

norma

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Oct 14, 2013, 2:52:19 PM10/14/13
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Dear Derek,My score was70 per cent.The things that surprised me were the number of recitals in Germany,the number of weeks in the charts for the recording of The Student Prince and the shorter length of Mario's time with the Bel Canto Trio.Somehow I had the idea that Mario cancelled his concerts in Germany.Very interesting quiz.I learnt quite a lot.
All the Best Norma
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Message has been deleted

Armando

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Oct 14, 2013, 9:52:10 PM10/14/13
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Hi Steff: This is part of the advance publicity for the tour.


Lou

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Oct 15, 2013, 8:05:15 PM10/15/13
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I answered off the top of my head and scored 60%. Nothing to crow about, but taking the quiz was fun.

Derek McGovern

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Oct 21, 2013, 3:18:18 AM10/21/13
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Glad you had fun, Lou!

I've just added another 30-question quiz to our site:


As before, this is a mixture of the profound and the trivial :) Some of the questions are easy; others are quite tricky, but hopefully will intrigue you.

Enjoy yourselves!
Derek 

norma

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Oct 21, 2013, 9:55:02 AM10/21/13
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47% this time.I found this quiz much more difficult than the first one but still good fun.
Norma

Derek McGovern

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Oct 21, 2013, 9:43:03 PM10/21/13
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Don't worry, Norma: You did better than many so far! It is a more difficult quiz than the last one. 

The highest score achieved to date is 73%. I wonder if anyone will top that on their first attempt?

Cheers
Derek

Vincent Di Placido

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Oct 22, 2013, 8:57:42 AM10/22/13
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OK! I have to stop doing these quizzes when I first wake up & impatiently answer the first answer that comes into my head, I'm only getting in the 60ish% each time :-(
The "would-be mother-in-law" question almost fried my brain :-) & the aria that Mario sang in one film but didn't know in another is a great question, bravo, Derek! You should work on "Mastermind" :-)

Derek McGovern

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Oct 24, 2013, 2:38:13 AM10/24/13
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Ha! I knew the mother-in-law question would throw a few people. That particular actress, by the way, was a huge Lanza admirer---but I won't identify her now, as I don't want to give the answer away :)

I see that someone just scored 100%; I'll be most impressed if that was the person's first go!

Cheers
Derek

P.S. Don't forget to vote on the best/worst 1959 album poll! That should be a bit less taxing :) 

efran...@gmail.com

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Oct 22, 2013, 3:58:48 PM10/22/13
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Thank you Derek for this challenging test.  I passed but realize the many gaps in my knowledge.  It is worth a refresher course and re-reading Armando's book.  Congratulations on your creativity and splendid imagination.  I enjoyed this exercise.  Warm best wishes, Emilio

Derek McGovern

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Oct 22, 2013, 8:51:27 PM10/22/13
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Ciao Emilio: Good on you for participating! And don't worry about gaps in your knowledge; I suspect some of these questions would baffle even one or two of Lanza's biographers :) But they're meant to be fun, as well as informative.

The second quiz is definitely the more difficult of the two---judging from results so far---with the highest score achieved still 73%, or 22 out of 30. (That person I mentioned earlier who scored 100% did so on his second attempt!)

Saluti
Derek 

Lou

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Oct 23, 2013, 2:09:31 AM10/23/13
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The would-be-mother-in-law question was a no-brainer for me as you had written about her and her daughter in one of your posts. As a whole, though, I found this second quiz much tougher than the first. My score of 57%  was a pleasant surprise, considering that many of my answers were just wild guesses.  I love the quote in Question No. 23. I didn't know Lanza had ever said anything about that singer. Later can you please put the quote in context? I can't find it in Armando's book.   

Derek McGovern

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Oct 23, 2013, 3:02:05 AM10/23/13
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Hi Lou: 57% is pretty good! The average score on the second quiz has been 55%, so you're ahead of the pack :)

Yes, I knew that I'd written about the mother/mother-in-law coincidence (question #4) on this forum; the same goes for at least two of the questions with quotes, including the one you asked about (#23). So I was playing reasonably fair! If you do a search on this forum on the term "toe-nails," you'll see that the whole article that question #23 comes from has already been posted here. In fact, you commented on it at the time :)  

Cheers
Derek
 

Lou

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Oct 23, 2013, 12:59:54 PM10/23/13
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Well, Derek, what can I say? I did the "toe-nails" search and  found them all -- the quote, the context, and  my comment - just as you said I would. The thing is, I can't remember having read the article nor  made the comment. I should be embarrassed, but I'm not. I'm scared. For if memory loss comes, can Alzheimer's be far behind? (My apologies to Shelley.)

Steff

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Oct 23, 2013, 2:25:16 PM10/23/13
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Hi Derek,
 
I plead guilty to the 73 %. And let me add that it was at about 2 a.m. when I did the quiz!
I had difficulties with the mother-daughter question as I sadly have little knowledge when it comes to actors' names in American films.
And I will never get Mario's height right. This foot/inch thing always drives me crazy and even your additional centimeter details could not help me then. And I was not aware about "Seven Hills of Rome" being based on "Rainy Evening." I rather would have assigned that to a film like "Serenade," but of course "Serenade" was based on the novel of the same name (It was a rainy evening in "For the First Time" too, right at the beginning of the film, correct?)
 
Steff

Steff

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Oct 23, 2013, 2:41:13 PM10/23/13
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This is fantastic, Armando, thank you for posting it!
 
Steff

Derek McGovern

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Oct 23, 2013, 10:05:49 PM10/23/13
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Hi Lou:

I don't think you need to worry about Alzheimer's :) With well over four hundred discussions (comprising thousands of posts), it's nigh on impossible to remember everything that's been written here. And if it's any consolation, I sometimes come across stuff that I've posted of which I have no recollection either :) 

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Oct 23, 2013, 10:27:18 PM10/23/13
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Steff wrote: 

I was not aware about "Seven Hills of Rome" being based on "Rainy Evening." I rather would have assigned that to a film like "Serenade," but of course "Serenade" was based on the novel of the same name (It was a rainy evening in "For the First Time" too, right at the beginning of the film, correct?)

Hi Steff: Armando mentions in his book (page 223) that the revised Seven Hills screenplay (which differed markedly from the one Lanza had approved back in the US) was based on a play entitled Sera di Pioggia (Rainy Evening) by Giuseppe Armato. 

Yes, I was sure that people would think the answer was For the First Time because of its opening scene in the rain! But, perhaps surprisingly, That Midnight Kiss has been the most common (incorrect) answer to that question so far, despite the complete lack of rain in that film :)  

Without wishing to give away any more answers here, the most difficult questions in the second quiz so far have been:

  • How many Lanza films were nominated for (American) Academy Awards?
  • Which Lanza film screenplay was the tenor referring to when he stated, “Perhaps with a better script my acting might improve!”?
  • Which of these gifted American celebrities was among seventy invited guests when Lanza was awarded a standing ovation for his performance of the Serenade from The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1943?
  • What aria is featured (in one form or another) in more Lanza films than any other?
  • What was the final Lanza album released during the tenor’s lifetime?
  • Which of Mario Lanza’s female co-stars was reported as having “nothing but compliments about him,” finding him both “very easy to work with and very cooperative”? 
  • In one of his films, Lanza sings this particular aria, while in another film his character is unfamiliar with the same piece. What is the aria?
  • In one of Lanza’s films, the woman who played his *would-be mother-in-law* was the daughter of an actress who played his *mother* in another of his movies. In a further parent-child coincidence, the same two movies were each co-written by members of the same family: another woman and her daughter. What are the two films?
And the only question that every participant so far has answered correctly? "Which conductor said to Lanza, “Yours is a voice such as is heard once in a hundred years”?


Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Nov 1, 2013, 8:42:41 AM11/1/13
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We have another Lanza quiz: our third:


As always, have fun, and then come back here to tell us how you got on (if you dare!).


Barnabas Nemeth

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Nov 2, 2013, 4:39:54 AM11/2/13
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I have scored 40%. Well, ... not too much. It was difficult.
 
Barnabas



norma

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Nov 2, 2013, 1:45:13 PM11/2/13
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I scored 43%.They are getting harder but I'm learning more and more.
Norma Thanks.

Derek McGovern

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Nov 3, 2013, 1:35:35 AM11/3/13
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Hi Norma: 43% is not bad! The average score hasn't been much higher---and certainly no one has got all the answers right yet. The highest score to date is 87% (26/30) and the lowest is 7%.

These have been the most incorrectly answered questions so far:

  • Which Hollywood star was reported in September 1954 as saying of Lanza: "I don't care if he is fat. He has a great voice, and it should be heard."?

  • In which Italian city was it reported that RCA had been planning to record Lanza in a series of complete operas?

  • Numerous possible film roles for Lanza were mentioned in the US press in the 1950s. Which of the following parts was NEVER mentioned? (Marco Polo/Faust/singing cowboy/singing pirate)

  • As a birthday present to which singer did Lanza perform music from Puccini's Madama Butterfly with Kathryn Grayson at an MGM gathering in July 1948, earning plaudits from the recipient for his thrilling singing and "magnificent voice"?

  • How many of Mario Lanza's *albums* (not singles) were certified "gold"---that is, they sold more than a million copies?

norma

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Nov 3, 2013, 10:14:08 AM11/3/13
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Derek,Was "The Great Caruso" the other film that Mario' parents were in ? If so In which scene?
Thanks Norma

Derek McGovern

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Nov 3, 2013, 11:44:35 PM11/3/13
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Hi Norma: Yes, it was The Great Caruso. You can see them in the scene in which Ann Blyth sings "Loveliest Night of the Year."

They're seated at the table on the left in this screenshot from the movie:

(Click on the above to enlarge)


Cheers,

Derek 

Derek McGovern

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Nov 3, 2013, 11:46:15 PM11/3/13
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Correction to the above: Of course, I meant that Mario's parents are seated on the right in the above photo! The grey-haired gentleman is Antonio, and the woman on his left is Maria.

Derek McGovern

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Nov 3, 2013, 11:52:01 PM11/3/13
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P.S. While on the topic of The Great Caruso, it still frustrates me that I haven't managed to locate the scene in which the then-16-year-old George Chakiris (Bernardo in the film version of West Side Story) supposedly appears as a dancer (according to imdb.com).   

norma

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Nov 4, 2013, 8:26:07 AM11/4/13
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Dear Derek, Thanks.

Norma

Lou

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Nov 4, 2013, 10:33:19 PM11/4/13