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Derek McGovern

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Oct 4, 2011, 12:02:28 AM10/4/11
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This thread is for announcements/discussions of new material on our main site, Mario Lanza, Tenor.

Derek McGovern

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Oct 4, 2011, 12:10:10 AM10/4/11
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Thanks to the research skills and generosity of Steff, we now have a large number of new photos on our main site. You'll find these gems on the various subcategories of "Family," "Miscellaneous," "Operatic and Concert Performances," and "With Friends and Colleagues." Of special mention is the much clearer pic of Lanza at Tanglewood performing the third act of La Boheme (which, incidentally, we now believe he sang twice) and the hilarious photos with FTFT co-star Hans Söhnker in Berlin.

Enjoy, and thanks again, Steff!!!

Steff

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Oct 4, 2011, 5:44:35 AM10/4/11
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Hi Derek,

Thank you for including the photos to this website.
Regarding the "La Bohème" Tanglewood photos (Mario and Irma Gonzalez) I would like to explicitely thank my dear friend Roberto Stuart from Merida, Mexico. Thank you Roberto, for scanning those photos and in such an astonishingly good quality (Love the close-up of Mario and Irma!). Its a very good thing to share those treasures with as much fans as possible.

Steff

Derek McGovern

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Oct 4, 2011, 5:56:25 AM10/4/11
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Hi Steff: Thanks for reminding me that we have Roberto to thank for that improved Bohème pic. I've just given him the appropriate acknowledgement.

You know, I was just thinking that the third-to-last image of Lanza (with the German cyclist) in this section suggests a personality light years removed from the hopelessly screwed-up and tortured individual described by several of his biographers. It's impossible not to smile when looking at this photo.

Cheers
Derek 

leeann

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Oct 4, 2011, 6:56:59 AM10/4/11
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What wonderful photos--perhaps especially the Hans Söhnker sequence. Yes, it's impossible not to smile and to seethe side of the man who loved people, who loved life, who loved fun!.  Thank you, Steff.  Best, Lee Ann

Steff

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Oct 4, 2011, 7:08:11 AM10/4/11
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Hi Derek,

It's heartwarming to see such a relaxed Mario who obviously was enjoying himself. The pictures speak for themselves, taken out of a spontaneous situation, none of the poses were planned. Here's a fun-loving Mario who enjoys being among people, who simply loves life.
Being a German "girl" I am very happy to see that he had some happy moments in my country. Did I already tell you that Mario and a journalist even enjoyed a "Currywurst" (curry sausage) at the Kudamm in Berlin (famous main-boulevard of the city)?

As for the cyclist, yes, the photos were the taken on November 2 1958. There was a cycle race at the "Deutschlandhalle" Berlin (a famous event venue), the "Grand Prix of Berlin," and apparently Mario and Hans Söhnker attended and gave the starting signal with the pistol.

Steff

Derek McGovern

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Oct 4, 2011, 9:09:45 AM10/4/11
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Hi Steff: Actually, 1958 was quite Lanza's "German year," wasn't it? He visited a surprising amount of your country. 

While other continental countries saw him in recital only once apiece, he had those two concerts in January (Munich and Stuttgart) and another two in April (Hanover and Kiel)---and at least two of them---i.e. Stuttgart and Kiel---found him in top form. (John Coast, for one, was blown away by his singing in Stuttgart.) Then, of course, it all ended in scandal, with his second successive cancellation in Hamburg, and a near-riot. And yet just two months later, he was back in Germany again---this time for the restorative powers of Walchensee---staying there for an extended period. Two months later, he was back in Germany yet again---this time in Berlin---for the filming of For the First Time. His fourth and final visit to Germany seems to have been his happiest (marred only by the news of Tyrone Power's death), and by all accounts he and his co-stars had a grand old time together.   

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Oct 4, 2011, 11:11:02 PM10/4/11
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I've just added a couple more rare photos---again, courtesy of Steff---to our Operatic and Concert Performances section. These can be found straight after the famous photo of Lanza shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth II, and show a remarkably youthful-looking Lanza---appearing years younger than he does in the Seven Hills of Rome of that same year----at a reception after the Royal Variety Show.

Tony Partington

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Oct 5, 2011, 8:29:18 PM10/5/11
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Hi Derek:  A quick question.  In the "Operatic and Concert Performances" photos section, photos #10 and #11 are of Mario, Frances Yeend and George London and the location is identified as the Hollywood Bowl.  If I'm not mistaken, George London did not appear at Lanza's first Hollywood Bowl performance, only Frances Yeend.  Was he there just singing with them, lending moral support or what.  I might be wrong about this, but none of the recordings I have of Lanza's first Hollywood Bowl performance include London.  Any thoughts?
 
Ciao ~ Tony

Derek McGovern

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Oct 5, 2011, 8:46:22 PM10/5/11
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Hi Tony: Good question! 

No, George London didn't sing at that concert; as you thought, he was simply there in the audience to support his friends. But I guess the chance to try out his voice on the Bowl stage with his two friends during their rehearsal --- and with the famous Eugene Ormandy conducting --- was irresistible!   

Cheers
Derek


Derek McGovern

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Oct 11, 2011, 11:06:08 PM10/11/11
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Thanks to the kindness of a member of the Miklós Rózsa Society, who happens to be also a Lanza admirer, I was alerted to a rare and beautiful photo by Otto Rothschild taken close to the time of the Hollywood Bowl concert of July 24, 1948. Rózsa was the conductor on that occasion, and the photo shows the popular composer with a pregnant Kathryn Grayson and a very slim Lanza (who looks every inch the matinee idol here). 

Since the photo was copyrighted, I had to seek the appropriate permission to reproduce it on our site. Quite a rigmarole! But here it is at last for your viewing pleasure :):


It's the third photo on the third line down. Enjoy!

Cheers
Derek     

Steff

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Oct 12, 2011, 4:50:40 AM10/12/11
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Hi Derek,

That's a terrific picture and a great addition to the photo gallery. I see the source is the Otto Rothschild collection and this just made me recall that the Hollywood Bowl museum has a Rothschild collection which opened this year in May, "Celebrity Moments at the Hollywood Bowl Captured Forever by Photographer Otto Rothschild." It has pictures of Mario Lanza and I wonder if, apart from the VERY few we know (now included the one you just got permission for), there are some more? Hmmmm.....

http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/press/press-release/index.cfm?id=779

Steff

Derek McGovern

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Oct 12, 2011, 9:09:06 AM10/12/11
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Hi Steff

Thanks for that link! I've just emailed the archivist, and will let you know how I get on. I've always thought it was a crying shame that we don't have any photos of either the 1947 or 1949 Hollywood Bowl concerts. Fingers crossed!

Cheers
Derek

Steff

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Oct 12, 2011, 9:49:21 AM10/12/11
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Hi Derek,

Yes that's a shame. There exist a few photos of Margret Truman's concert at the Hollywood Bowl in August 1947 - I think even from the rehearsals, so IMO it's quite logical that there must also be some of Mario's spectacular appearance which took place only days later.

Steff
Of course fingers crossed!!

Derek McGovern

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Oct 12, 2011, 10:31:20 PM10/12/11
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Hi Steff: I've heard back from the archivist, and, sadly, none of the photos in that Hollywood Bowl collection can be made available online. In other words, the only way we can see the photos is by visiting the Hollywood Bowl Museum.

The Rozsa photo I posted on our site was not from that collection. Just as well!

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Oct 16, 2011, 12:43:36 AM10/16/11
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There's been a flurry of activity on our main site today. Lee Ann and I have created two interactive features: first, a poll for everyone to vote on---"Name your favorite Mario Lanza film"---and, second, an exciting new section titled "Rate This Recording." The latter was Joe's brainwave. Joe felt it would be stimulating for Lanza aficionados and newcomers alike to have a section where they could rate Mario's individual recordings (e.g. as anything from "an unmitigated disaster" to "a masterpiece"), and then come to the forum to discuss them. Both Lee Ann and I loved the idea, and we hope you do too. The plan is that every week or so, two new recordings will be chosen at random---and anyone is welcome to drop me a line with suggestions---for members and non-members alike to evaluate and discuss. A thread specifically for discussing the featured recordings will also be created.

And one more addition: James Kilbourne's beautifully written "On First Hearing Mario Lanza." Do check it out in our Mario Lanza and Me section.

Cheers
Derek

       

Derek McGovern

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Nov 21, 2011, 2:50:15 AM11/21/11
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Lee Ann has just added some fascinating material to our Lanza Scrapbook. We now have a second page of items, this time focusing on reactions to The Great Caruso, as experienced by two noted writers, and the extraordinary story of Lanza and the Bureau of Narcotics:


Thank you, Lee Ann!!!

norma

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Nov 23, 2011, 3:40:54 PM11/23/11
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Dear Leanne,
 
                       Thanks for the addition to the Scrapbook.  It was very interesting and showed how Mario was pressurised by the Mafia. He was strong to resist their offers.
 
                                                                                                                                        From Norma
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leeann

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Nov 25, 2011, 10:16:40 PM11/25/11
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You are welcome, Norma! I know those stories are familiar to many people. Various versions of them appear in several Lanza biographies highly coloured by personal reminiscences or personal agendas or just plain imagination--Terry Robinson's book, Lanza: His Tragic Life, for example.

They've been made sensational focal points among the Lanza myths, but they're not footnoted or documented.

And yet they're far less important than the major milestones, events, and growth of  Lanza's musical history.

So it was good to get hold of official reports to hear what Lanza had told federal investigators, to have some basic confirmation of what took place and to refute misconceptions. And to learn what and who led the Bureau of Narcotics to interview Lanza in the first place.

Certainly contact with suspected members of organized crime wasn't all that unusual in the entertainment world at that time, and these reports seem to indicate that Lanza had them in perspective, took them in stride, and the music came first.

On close reading, I think these reports tell a good bit about Lanza as a person too.  For one thing, Lanza's reported conversations give a picture of a man who was open with other people--transparent and  immediate in his interaction and reaction. And more!  But Armando and Derek can talk about that much better than I can. Best, Lee Ann
Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

leeann

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Jan 25, 2012, 11:51:19 AM1/25/12
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I was looking back through posts on the forum and hit this terrific thread about Lanza's Surviving Tanglewood Colleagues from 2008.  So, now the Scrapbook entry on Gloria Boh points to Lou Abada's great research to find her and that same section now includes Lanza's inscription to Gloria Boh on the Otello score (among other materials and links) thanks to Armando and Derek who followed up Lou's lead. I am so appreciative of the skills and conversations everybody continually brings to the table and shares about Lanza and a thousand other interesting and related topics.  Thank you,  Leeann

Derek McGovern

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Jan 25, 2012, 10:46:56 PM1/25/12
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I am so appreciative of the skills and conversations everybody continually brings to the table and shares about Lanza and a thousand other interesting and related topics.

Couldn't agree more, Lee Ann!

That link, incidentally, to the 2008 thread "Lanza's Surviving Tanglewood Colleagues" isn't working, so here it is again:

http://www.mariolanzatenor.com/forum-mario-lanza-tenor.html?place=topic%2Fmariolanza%2FgfOVanh-owU%2Fdiscussion

It was sad re-reading it just now (although it does include Lou's wonderful detective work in leading us to a non-Tanglewood Lanza colleague, Gloria Boh), and realizing that the title is no longer true :( Happily, though, Gloria Boh is still very much with us.

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Mar 24, 2012, 3:54:02 AM3/24/12
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Just to let everyone know: two great new articles---one by Steff and the other by Armando---will be appearing on our main site during the next couple of days. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

Vincent Di Placido

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Mar 25, 2012, 9:53:42 AM3/25/12
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Really enjoyed both articles thanks Steff & Armando, very interesting
stuff!
I really do find it surprising though that after the incredible
success of the all operatic "The Great Caruso" album that RCA didn't
record/release at least 1 more album of all operatic material. It was
proven that there was a huge market for it, & of course there were so
many popular arias to record... The closest we get is the "Serenade"
soundtrack & it contains amazing recordings & I love it but still I'm
surprised there wasn't another album, a "The Great Caruso II" for all
the world... especially before the MGM problems...

Derek McGovern

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Mar 27, 2012, 10:12:54 AM3/27/12
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Hi Vince: RCA recorded seventeen arias and two duets with Lanza over a thirteen-month period (May 1949-June 1950), so I guess they felt that 19 operatic recordings were enough of a stockpile for at least a couple of years. We tend to forget that LPs were only in their infancy at that stage too. If you think about it, they had almost enough material for two operatic albums---but of course they preferred to tie things in with the films, which they did for the first four (non-soundtrack) movie albums.

I can understand RCA's strategy, though I agree that it would have been wonderful if that proposed album of "obscure" arias had gone ahead. We don't know enough about it, of course---did Mario simply lose interest during that dreadful period of 1953-54, or did RCA veto the project? Whatever the truth, the fact that Mario went on to record a lot of opera for Serenade (and a demanding programme at that) probably ruled out the need (in RCA's eyes) for another operatic album for the time being---and, then, of course, there was more opera in For the First Time. But opera was never off the agenda, as the stereo remake of The Great Caruso (presumably with more than a stingy eight arias this time!) would have have happened in 1960---and then those complete opera recordings for RCA in Bologna.

Speaking of those Bologna recordings, I find it odd to say the least that Derek Mannering is now disputing whether they were ever planned. After all, it was he who asserted in his book that "plans were well underway in 1959 to make full-length operatic recordings"!

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Mar 27, 2012, 12:32:00 PM3/27/12
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One thing I would dearly like to see substantiated, though, is the claim---first mentioned in Roland Bessette's 1999 book, and then in Mannering's second bio---that the 1949 "Che Gelida Manina" won the National Record Critics award that year for best operatic recording. I assumed it was true, and mentioned it in good faith in my notes for the CD accompanying Armando's book. But since then, I've had much-improved access to various newspaper archives and the like, and I've never been able to find any mention of the award (or even the association!). There is (or was) such a thing as the International Record Critics Award, but that's as far as I've got.

So who or what was Bessette's source?!


Derek McGovern

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Sep 27, 2012, 11:39:25 PM9/27/12
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Armando's new English-language interview---filmed by Roberto Scandurra in Italy earlier this month---is now included on our main site on the page devoted to his biography of Lanza

Michael McAdam

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Sep 28, 2012, 7:25:27 AM9/28/12
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A first-class addition, Derek.
M.

Derek McGovern

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Oct 15, 2012, 5:14:05 AM10/15/12
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Steff recently sent me a number of Lanza photos, many of them quite rare. They include some additional pics from the Lanzas' vacation in Nevada in 1952, a great candid portrait of Lanza on the set of Serenade with Sarita Montiel, Lanza with Van Johnson, and several photos from the promotional tour for That Midnight Kiss. You'll find them (sorted in chronological order) on our main site in Family, Miscellaneous and With Friends & Colleagues.

Enjoy---and thank you once again, Steff!

Cheers
Derek  
 

Derek McGovern

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Oct 16, 2012, 10:09:57 AM10/16/12
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I've just added a few photos taken during the filming of Seven Hills of Rome (thank you again, Steff!), plus a great pic of Lanza being awarded the Golden Mask by the Mayor of Rome (courtesy of Armando, who received it from Filignano's John Coia). 

You'll find them here:


Cheers
Derek 


Derek McGovern

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Nov 23, 2012, 4:04:47 AM11/23/12
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I've just finished adding the names of all the composer and lyricists (where known) to our English-language songs Discography. Where applicable, I've also added the names of the musicals that the songs come from.

I'm happy to report that we now have the most comprehensive Lanza discography available! 



Derek McGovern

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Dec 15, 2012, 2:43:42 AM12/15/12
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I've just created a new page on our main site featuring excerpts from the transcripts of Armando's 1977 interviews with Sam Steinman, Lanza's European publicity agent:


Hope you enjoy reading it! And many thanks to Armando for sharing these interviews with us.

Cheers
Derek      

Derek McGovern

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Dec 15, 2012, 11:51:42 PM12/15/12
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Steff has kindly sent me an interesting 1961 article on Sam Steinman that complements our new page (see post above) very nicely. I'm attaching it here for your reading pleasure :) 

Armando's memories of Steinman were of a very nice man, and this article certainly supports that view. 

Thanks for finding this, Steff!

Cheers
Derek   

 
Sam'l Steinman, Devout Roman 1.PNG
Sam'l Steinman, Devout Roman 2.PNG

leeann

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Dec 17, 2012, 8:06:07 AM12/17/12
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Armando, thank you for sharing this interview. It's poignant; it's revealing; it's heartbreaking in some ways.

It's also a relief to have a Lanza contemporary of the stature of Steinman discuss the people around Lanza with candid appraisal and to validate events and plans that some still hold as rumours.

 Steinman seems sophisticated, extraordinarily intelligent,  certainly well-connected--and yet someone who never lost a certain humanity, an ability to relate to people, and a realistic view of his world.  We've discussed Callinicos a lot and various views on him are pretty well known on this forum. I was appreciative, too, to have the reminder of Teitelbaum--besides his business dealings with Lanza--selling out Lanza to the Bureau of Narcotics in exchange for leniency during his criminal prosecution--a slimy character, indeed.

This was terrific. Best, Lee Ann


 

Armando

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Dec 18, 2012, 1:12:06 AM12/18/12
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Hi Lee Ann: You stated “Steinman seems sophisticated, extraordinarily intelligent, certainly well-connected--and yet someone who never lost a certain humanity, an ability to relate to people, and a realistic view of his world.”  He was all of those, as well as a lovely person who provided me with invaluable information on Lanza and those associated with him. Steinman not only made himself available at a time when he was far from well, but he also went out of his way to supply me with names and arrange appointments. He made a tremendous contribution to my Lanza biography, and I’ll be forever grateful to him. 

Meeting him was definitely one of the high points of my research, not only for the help he freely gave me, but because he came across as a truthful, sincere friend of Lanza who, while not  minimizing  Mario’s faults or problems didn’t paint a negative picture of the man for the sake of sensationalism.

There were numerous others who were both pleasant and informative, first and foremost the actor Barry Nelson. Naturally, there were also a number of low points- none lower than Robinson, and Teitelbaum, two truly despicable individuals, followed closely by Callinicos, Mrs. Moricca, and to a certain extent,Weiler. 

I’ve often asked myself how Lanza could have put his trust in some the above mentioned, and the only answer I can come up with was provided by Steinman himself who told me “ He was just like a little boy.” An opinion shared by many, among them Dr Stradone, who added “He was a very soft , sensitive person ….. very emotional but capable of formidable tenderness, as I’ve often witnessed in his behavior with his wife and children.”  

This was a person without a hint of malice who believed in the good side of people and, as a consequence, trusted those that professed to be his “friends” but who in truth were out to use him for all they could.

Armando


Derek McGovern

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Dec 18, 2012, 1:42:30 AM12/18/12
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Hi Lee Ann and Armando: I think the fact alone that Steinman resisted any temptation to cash in on his connection with Lanza speaks volumes about his character. And he was a journalist to boot! It would have been so easy for someone with his talent and connections to have penned a commercially viable tell-all book and got it published, had he so chosen.

I'm also impressed by the fact that he was prepared to name names when it came to the people he felt had exploited Lanza. As a journalist, he would have been well aware of the laws of defamation, but he was confident enough in his opinions to point the finger at people who were still alive in 1977, and who in one case (Paul Baron) was even living in the same city. Now that takes guts.

Incidentally, I've slightly extended the Steinman page to include his opinion on whether Lanza was insecure about returning to opera, as well as adding a photo of Baron that Steff kindly sent me a while back.


Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Dec 18, 2012, 2:42:37 AM12/18/12
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P.S. One other thing that struck me while reading the Steinman transcripts is that I never got the sense that Steinman felt that Lanza was a hopeless case at the end of his life. An alcoholic, yes, but a functioning one. We're told by the likes of Bessette that Lanza was a "tragically impaired man" by 1959---a pitiful creature beyond help. But Steinman presumably didn't see him that way. He describes a man who was still full of plans at the end---and certainly not a person who thought that death was imminent (in contrast with the the sad individual muttering "La vita 'e breve; la morte viene" in Callinicos' telling of Lanza's last days). 

Interesting.      


Derek McGovern

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Dec 18, 2012, 5:18:13 AM12/18/12
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And a P.P.S. Steinman's contempt for Lanza's one-time manager Al Teitelbaum led me to do a bit of online researching about the latter---and I stumbled upon this curious article:


It concerns a 20 million-dollar lawsuit that Teitelbaum filed against writer James Ellroy for defaming him in Tijuana, Mon Amour, a novella from the 1999 omnibus Crime Wave, in which the former and his shady dealings (including the fake robbery that he staged in 1955) play a leading role.  

How bizarre! I don't know the outcome of the lawsuit, but I certainly hope Teitelbaum didn't receive a cent. Considering that he implicated an unwitting Lanza in that fake robbery, convinced the tenor to sign away not-inconsiderable percentages of his future income (to this day) to his cronies, implicated Lanza again in his secret testimony to the Bureau of Narcotics, and later penned a trash biography of him (which for years he lied about writing), his protestations of "invasion of privacy" and hurt feelings were the epitome of chutzpah:

[I]n the story, Mr. Teitelbaum (“the furtive furrier”) is “broke,” so he stages “a fake fur heist to get some insurance money.” The heist of Tijuana, Mon Amour -which Mr. Ellroy manages to set up in such a way that it involves Sammy Davis Jr. and a syringe full of LSD-takes place on the same date, Dec. 27, 1955, on which the real-life Mr. Teitelbaum committed the crime involving a false insurance claim that sent him to jail. As part of the fictional plan, Linda Lansing was to sell the furs-”fence” them, in the Ellroy lingo-south of the border.
 
In the May 20 lawsuit, Mr. Teitelbaum asserted that he “has never met either Barbara Graham or Linda Lansing, has never lain in a bed with either or both of those women; has never been photographed with either or both or those women; has never used any woman by the name of Linda Lansing to advertise his furs, nor has he ever engaged in any arrangement to have his furs transported to any ‘fence’ for stolen furs … nor was he ‘broke’ at that time.”
 
[Teitelbaum's lawyer] Mr. Morgan-who won a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court early on in the Malcolm case, setting down that misquotation can be libelous-elaborated in an interview: “There are basically two issues. They’ve got him in bed with Barbara Graham, who was executed for murder here, so she was a real person, and Linda Lansing, who we don’t know if she was real or not. Which is totally false and outrageous, really. They have him broke and sending her down to fence furs in Tijuana. None of which ever happened. And none of which anyone ever said happened.”
 
But Mr. Teitelbaum was no saint: In 1956, he was convicted of conspiracy to commit grand theft, attempted grand theft and the presentation of a false insurance claim. He spent six months in Los Angeles County Jail. Since then, his court papers insist, Mr. Teitelbaum “has lived a quiet life avoiding notoriety.” His lawyer said he “had grandchildren who didn’t even know about it. It was really very devastating to him. He has lived an exemplary life since then … He’s 84. He didn’t need this at the end of his life.”
     

Steff

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Dec 20, 2012, 12:29:40 PM12/20/12
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Ciao Armando,

I finally had the time to read your interview with Sam Steinman and Steinman’s remark about Mario’s voice being able to “shatter a glass with the sharpness of a high note” caught my attention immediately.

In his autobiography  “Atze Brauner – Mich gibt’s nur einmal“  Arthur Brauner (CCC Berlin- he’s mentioned in the Steinman interview too) , who was to produce Mario’s next film “Granada” (co-star: Catherina Valente) Brauner describes his first encounter with Mario Lanza at the “Cavalieri Hilton” in Rome and at the Villa Badoglio (not all remarks are nice!) and mentions the following (translated by me from German):

“[…] He gets three big wine glasses […] and puts them on the mantelpiece: “Now I am showing you what my voice is able to do.”  He concentrates, he takes a deep breath and he sings. He sings with an elemental force, and there’s a bright high C ringing through the room, endlessly, endlessly. And suddenly something phantasmal happens: The wine glasses start crackling and cracking and finally shatter. The pieces of broken glass fall to the ground.”

I look at him, mesmerized. "That's nothing." he dismisses, "That's nothing at all.  Ask Frank Sinatra, I shattered his mirror with my singing."

 

Steff 

Joseph Fagan

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Dec 20, 2012, 12:53:12 PM12/20/12
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an interesting and colorful story Steff, but I believe this is actually impossible from the physics point of view. But fun to read....Joe

Armando

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Dec 20, 2012, 4:12:51 PM12/20/12
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Hi Steff,

I’m afraid I’m a doubting Thomas when it comes to this sort of thing. In the early 50s Hedda Hopper claimed that she dared Lanza to smash one of her mirrors with a high note and that much to her surprise he did exactly that.   

According to the laws of physics, while in theory it’s possible to achieve such a feat it’s also highly unlikely.

You can read more about it on this link:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fact-or-fiction-opera-singer-can-shatter-glass

Ciao

Armando


Derek McGovern

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Jan 2, 2013, 11:42:39 PM1/2/13
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I'm delighted to announce a brand-new feature for our main site: A Mario Lanza Musical Who's Who:


This feature provides mini-biographies of all the conductors Lanza worked with, in addition to vocal coaches, arrangers, opera producers, and selected singers. There's also a list provided of every known singer with whom Lanza performed or recorded (excluding the likes of Jean Fenn, who recorded their contributions separately).

Lee Ann has worked tirelessly on the formatting for this feature, which took untold hours to put together, and I'd like to thank her for her magnificent work.

Hope you enjoy the feature!

Cheers
Derek

Steff

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Jan 3, 2013, 11:06:27 AM1/3/13
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Fantastic job indeed!
Thank you, Lee Ann and Derek!
 
Steff

norma

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Jan 3, 2013, 4:45:21 PM1/3/13
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Dear Derek,Great information.Thanks again for all your hard work.
Best Norma

Armando

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Jan 3, 2013, 5:02:55 PM1/3/13
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Simply phenomenal,and an invaluable addition to the Lanza site.

Brilliant work by Derek and Lee Ann and important contributions by Steff.

Thank you to all concerned!

Armando

Derek McGovern

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Jan 3, 2013, 6:29:40 PM1/3/13
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Thanks for your kind comments, Steff, Norma and Armando. It was a labour of love for Lee Ann and me!

Just one point I should make, as I've been receiving emails asking why I haven't included so-and-so: not every singer who worked with Lanza has been included in the mini-biographies section. The key word is selected (singers). I simply haven't had the time to write about every singer (and often information about them is scarce or not available online). I've tended to focus on either the most important singers, or, in some cases, lesser known artists with whom he worked. However, every singer that Lanza worked directly with has been included in the list of singers at the end of the musical resource. (That doesn't include Jean Fenn, Norma Giusti, Elizabeth Doubleday and a few others, since their contributions to his recordings were recorded separately.) 

It's a work in progress, though, and I'll continue to update it, and also include more singers' mini-biographies in the main section, as time allows. (Elaine Malbin, for example.) The musicians' entries are pretty much complete, though, as far as I can see.

Cheers
Derek


Lou

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Jan 4, 2013, 9:12:14 AM1/4/13
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Thank you, Derek and Lee Ann, for putting this trove of fascinating, hard-to-come-by information at our fingertips. You are an amazing team!

Cheers,
Lou

leeann

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Jan 4, 2013, 10:22:11 AM1/4/13
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Thank you all for your kind comments and to Derek for including me--I get fantastic sneak previews of coming attractions during the coding/design process!

I'm so struck with the intensity of some of the black and white photos and the fact that even head shots are often so expressive: Vladimir Bakaleinikoff's face seems full many possible emotions; Lukas Foss is so young--younger than Lanza--and yet Lanza referred to him as a "strict taskmaster." The list could go on. It's quite remarkable, too, that the majority of the photos show the people Lanza worked with as they looked when he knew them. Then, it's all just fascinating reading besides.

Derek noted above that people are already asking about expanding the list. What an amazing platform and opportunity his work gives to those of us under the spell of Lanza's voice and life. Lee Ann

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Derek McGovern

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Jan 4, 2013, 11:08:23 PM1/4/13
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Speaking of Bakaleinikoff, Lee Ann, I've just added the account of Lanza's naughty imitation (in thick pseudo-Russian accent) of the conductor's admonishing of the unruly audience at their concert rehearsal :)

http://www.mariolanzatenor.com/a-lanza-musical-whos-who.html

I had such fun choosing/tracking down the photos for this musical resource, and Bakaleinikoff's pic was one of the most interesting of them all. (It was taken from a promotional brochure for a concert.) Hopefully, we'll eventually be able to find photos for all of the entries---people like Allen, Vitale, and Scherman.  

Today I've added new entries to the main resource for Elaine Malbin, Nicola Moscona, Lucine Amara, and Marina Koshetz (interesting life and family history, by the way), as well as expanding Rodolfo Pili's entry. 

I's also like to acknowledge the help of Steff, who's been a real whizz at finding information (e.g. birth and death dates and newspaper articles) about some of the (perhaps) less familiar people included in the musical resource, notably Vitale, Pili, Tourtelotte, and Nadin. 

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Jan 10, 2013, 6:40:44 PM1/10/13
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Thanks to Lee Ann's efforts, we now have photos of conductor Paul Scherman and vocal coach Leila Edwards in our Lanza musical resource, plus I've been able to expand New Orleans Opera director Armando Agnini's entry (thanks to an article on Edwards that Lee Ann also located).

And earlier this week, Steff managed to find a photo of the elusive Jacqueline Allen---she who provided the voice of the boy soprano in the "Ave Maria" scene in The Great Caruso---together with one of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Mel Powell, who briefly accompanied Mario in That Midnight Kiss

These are all terrific contributions to the resource! I've also added an entry for conductor Ray Noble, who worked on Edgar Bergen's show, bringing the number of identified conductors who worked with Lanza to 33. (Of course, there must be at least a dozen more, including others, like Noble, who conducted his various appearances on radio over the years.)

Cheers
Derek

Steff

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Jan 11, 2013, 8:42:05 AM1/11/13
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I would like to personally thank Manfred Thönicke  from Hamburg who runs "The Ray Conniff Page" fan website

http://mthoenicke.magix.net/public/conniff/index.htm

and who helped us to locate a photo of Jaqueline/Jackie Allen (the soprano who sang the

'Ave Maria' with Mario in "The Great Caruso."

I contacted Mr Thönicke last Sunday, and he got back to me immediately. Mr Thönicke

provided me with the beautiful picture that Derek now has included to Jacqueline's mini-biography on the "Musical Who is Who page".

Jackie Allen was a member of the "Ray Conniff Singers," and this is what Mr Thönicke remarked about her:

 

"She was a lovely person. I met her several times. She was humorous and warm-hearted.

Ray Conniff engaged her because she could sing the high notes without sounding shrill."

Mr Thönicke also sent another photo of Jackie which I have attached to my post, and he remarked:

 

"That is a photo that is characteristic for her as its shows her charming charisma and her grace."


 

Steff

 

 

leeann

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Jan 13, 2013, 12:41:33 PM1/13/13
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Derek wrote: Thanks to Lee Ann's efforts, we now have photos of conductor Paul Scherman and vocal coach Leila Edwards in our Lanza musical resource, plus I've been able to expand New Orleans Opera director Armando Agnini's entry (thanks to an article on Edwards that Lee Ann also located).

That article about Leila Edwards was full of wonderful anecdotes which, as Derek points out, expanded stories about Agnini and indicates that women were not generally doing what Leila Edwards achieved--serving as a vocal coach to some of the greatest operatic voices of her day. My locating this article, by the way, really just meant running in my university library and photocopying a reference Derek had found online! :-), which brought home the wonderful symbiosis for research between the digital and the non-digital. It'll certainly be a long time, if ever, before the entire universe of information is on-line, but now we're so linked to information and know so much more about what's out there, just waiting to be discovered and used. It's exciting.

I really love this musical resource, not only for the biographical insights into Lanza, but because I'm in awe of people who live and breath music and give the gift to the rest of us. The backstories of so many on this list perhaps aren't that widely known today, but they created a musical infrastructure for their time, and their stories are fascinating reading. Thanks, Derek! Leeann

Derek McGovern

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Jan 14, 2013, 10:51:59 AM1/14/13
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Hi Lee Ann: I'm so glad you're enjoying the resource. It's been such fun adding to it (almost on a daily basis)---in fact, we're up to 36 conductors now, and no doubt more will be identified soon! Then there are all the singers, accompanists, arrangers and other personalities, including (as you pointed out) the wonderful coach Leila Edwards and her colleague Armando Agnini. My thanks to all those who have emailed with suggestions for further entries. 

For me, one of the biggest surprises was learning that Emanuel Balaban had conducted Lanza in four concerts in 1947 (three in June and one in October)---and that soprano Carolyn Long had been the co-performer at all of them. That makes Balaban the person who conducted Lanza at more concerts than anyone else, and Long the tenor's second most-frequent soprano partner after Frances Yeend in terms of his concert career. (Of course, Mario sang more often in public with Kathryn Grayson, but the 1948 Hollywood Bowl concert aside, their appearances together were limited to one or two numbers in promotion of That Midnight Kiss, as opposed to full concerts.)

Another generally overlooked artist is Josef (Joseph) Blatt, who accompanied not only the Bel Canto Trio throughout their ten-month tour, but Lanza at some of his solo concerts, together with his appearance in Quebec in October 1947 with soprano Agnes Davis. Even by conservative estimates, that makes Blatt the pianist who accompanied Lanza on more occasions than anyone else---and yet he's never received the attention lavished on, say, Callinicos. But given that Blatt was also the Bel Canto Trio's vocal coach, his role in Lanza's musical development was obviously an important one. We only need to listen to the 1947 Hollywood Bowl concert or the 1948 Toronto arias to appreciate how far Lanza had come stylistically in only a few years, and Blatt surely deserves some credit for being such a positive influence.

I plan to keep expanding many of the entries (as well as adding new ones). As one who hated film writer Leslie's Halliwell's terse one-sentence summation of Lanza's life in The Filmgoer's Companion ("American opera singer, popular in MGM musicals until overcome by a weight problem"), I certainly want to avoid committing a similar injustice to the many super-gifted individuals described in our Who's Who!

Cheers

Derek

         


Derek McGovern

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Jan 17, 2013, 6:21:44 PM1/17/13
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I thought it would be good to include a page of frequently asked questions about Lanza to our main site for visitors who are new to the man and the artist. I've named it Mario Lanza: The Basics, and the questions range from the inconsequential How tall was he? to more serious stuff about his lifestyle and why it unraveled, with the appropriate links to various pages on our site. The idea, of course, is that it'll encourage visitors to explore Lanza's life and legacy.

Here's the link:

http://www.mariolanzatenor.com/mario-lanza-the-basics.html

As always, my immense gratitude to Lee Ann for sharing her creativity and formatting skills with us.  

Cheers,
Derek   

Steff

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Jan 19, 2013, 6:00:32 AM1/19/13
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Great Derek, and thank you to you and Lee Ann, for all the hard work!
That was a fantastic idea!
 
Incidentally, the other day I spotted a photo in your picture gallery (the operatic, concert & TV performance section) and it was new to me: Mario at a concert with the Marshall Field Choral Company at the Orchestra Hall in April 1949.
What a terrific picture and one of true rarity value: Mario being photographed with so many musicians and Mario in tuxedo! Thank your for sharing this with us.
 
Steff

Derek McGovern

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Jan 19, 2013, 6:30:14 AM1/19/13
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Hi Steff

Glad you like the new feature. It was fun putting it together.

The Marshall Field photo (a cropped version of which is next to Albert P. Stewart's entry in our Musical Who's Who section, by the way) was courtesy of Armando. I first saw this pic in the booklet to the LP Mario Lanza: The Legendary Tenor, but Armando's version seems to be of better quality. Yes, it's a great shot!

Incidentally, I've added yet another conductor---Max Reiter---to our Who's Who. That now brings the total to 37.

Cheers
Derek

Armando

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Jan 19, 2013, 6:16:23 PM1/19/13
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Hi Derek: Actually, I have to thank Muriel (where are you?) for the Marshall Field photo which she sent me some time back. As Steff pointed out, it’s  a particularly interesting one and it’s hanging along with others that you have seen in the music room where you spent a few nights when you were here.

Ciao

Armando   

Derek McGovern

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Jan 19, 2013, 11:01:15 PM1/19/13
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Ah, so it was Muriella we have to thank for it, Armando! Yes, I do recall seeing it on your music room wall now (along with many other stunning portraits).

By the way, I've just made a few changes (and corrected a couple of mistakes) to some of the entries on the new Mario Lanza: The Basics page that keen-eyed readers may notice. 

Cheers
Derek



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Derek McGovern

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Aug 6, 2020, 12:43:32 AM8/6/20
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Two new articles have just been posted on our main site:


The first is an interview by Steff Walzinger with German journalist Alexander Kulpok. Back in November 1958, Mr. Kulpok met Mario Lanza during the filming of the "Ave Maria" scene in For the First Time. His reminiscences (in response to some very intelligent and wide-ranging questions from Steff) of his time with Lanza are fascinating.


I was especially interested in Kulpok's recollection of Mario's response to the question of performing on stage (and this neatly ties in with the article below). Lanza's acknowledgement of the demands that giving his all in opera would place on him, far from ruling out a return to the stage (as some will no doubt crow), reveals a realistic man under no illusions about the challenges he believed were still ahead. 


Thank you very much, Steff, for this article---and thanks also to the British Mario Lanza Society (which first published it) for allowing us to reproduce it here:


http://www.mariolanzatenor.com/kulpok.html   


The second article is a response by Armando Cesari to an article by Derek Mannering that recently appeared in the Legacy Of Mario Lanza newsletter. In his article, Mr. Mannering again seeks to make the case that Mario Lanza was never serious about an operatic career, and implies that the tenor was a lazy artist whose own recording company saw him as an operatic lightweight. (This is actually the second time that Mannering has written an essay on this subject.) In Mannering's view, we should be celebrating the singer of "Arrivederci Roma" and "The Loveliest Night of the Year," not an "operatic superstar" who never was. (For good measure, he mocks fans who talk of Lanza's recording of the Otello Monologue in the same breath as Domingo's or Del Monaco's.) If you've ever scratched your head as to why Mannering has relentlessly emphasized the pure pop side of Lanza in his numerous CD compilations---disappointing many music lovers (and non-aficionados) in the process---this article is illuminating.  

 

Since Mannering's article strikes at the very heart of Lanza's worth as an artist, and is also clearly a commentary on views expressed on this forum, Armando has decided to respond to its assertions on our main site:


https://www.mariolanzatenor.com/misconceptions-about-lanza.html


Many thanks to Steff and Armando for these articles. And my gratitude, as always, to Lee Ann for formatting them so beautifully.


Cheers

Derek


Steff Walzinger

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Jul 16, 2020, 10:23:20 AM7/16/20
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Hello to all,


Maybe some of you remember my interview with the Berlin journalist Alexander Kulpok in which we talked about his encounter with Mario Lanza during the filming of „For the First Time.“ Alexander Kulpok was 19, when he met Mario at the filming set in Berlin.


Last year he published a book titled „SFB mon amour,“ the story about the SFB (Sender Freies Berlin),  a big broadcasting company, for which he worked.  I managed to see into a few pages of the book and was delighted to see that he mentioned, if only brief, his meeting with Mario. He also printed a photo of him with Mario.

 

Let me quote from Alexander Kulpok’s book:


„Früher oder später bastelt sich jede/r Reporter/in in Gedanken ein Ranking, eine Sympathieskala der von ihm oder ihr interviewten Personen. Wer war bescheiden, freundlich, umgänglich, intelligent, verständnisvoll, aufgeschlossen und hat dadurch maßgeblich zum Gelingen des journalistischen Produkts beigetragen? Neben Mario Lanza, James Mason, Walter Gropius, Marlene Dietrich und Werner Finck und Peter Ustinov steht da Erich Segal, der Autor der ‚Love Story,‘ ganz oben.“

 

„Sooner or later each reporter thinks about creating a ranking, a scale of sympathy regarding those people he interviewed. Was he/she modest, nice, affable, intelligent, understanding, open, and did he/she thus contribute essentially to the success of the journalistic product?  Besides Mario Lanza, James Mason, Walter Gropius, Marlene Dietrich and Werner Finck and Peter Ustinov Erick Segal, author of the ‚Love Story,‘ is at the very top.“ [translation by Steff]


Steff

 

Alexander Kulpok, Mario Lanza, Buch 'SFB mon amour'.JPG

Derek McGovern

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Aug 6, 2020, 12:08:41 AM8/6/20
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Our resident sleuth Steff has been her usual busy and productive self, this time discovering more reviews from the Bel Canto Trio tour of 1947-1948---and correcting/updating details of various concerts as well. We now have a remarkable and ever-expanding database of Lanza's concert career, along with numerous reviews and articles in our press section, which starts here.

Of special note is a newly discovered review of the Bel Canto Trio's concert at the Van Meter Auditorium in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on January 26, 1948. What a rave review Lanza received from the Park City Daily News! You can read the review in this section (second row from the bottom).    

Vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe, Steff!
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