Miscellaneous Lanza-related posts (2021-2022)

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Derek McGovern

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Feb 6, 2021, 9:59:33 PM2/6/21
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To avoid ending up with multiple discussion threads (since we already have about 520), I'd appreciate it if members could use this thread for any general Lanza-related comments or questions. For example, if you'd like to post a link to an article on Lanza that you've come across, or mention/ask something that isn't likely to spawn more than a few replies, this is the place to do it. 

On the other hand, if you wish to start a conversation about something more substantial, such as a particular Lanza recording, film, aspect of his life/singing, etc, then it's fine to create a separate thread for your topic. 

And remember that if you're not sure whether something has been discussed here before, all you need to do is use our "Search for messages" function. 

Valeria P.

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Feb 9, 2021, 9:34:52 AM2/9/21
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Just an observation. I have a copy of the February 1951 issue of 'Screen Stars', where it is published an article written by Mario himself called 'When a man loves'. In the article, Mario states that he proposed to Betty in her sister-in-law's apartment, the night before he was due to to leave for Washington State, for his last 4 months in the Air Force. So, he did not propose at the Romeo's restaurant as mentioned in at least a couple of the 'official' biographies. I thought that was worthwhile mentioning it, especially because the story was written by Mario himself, therefore, one can believe its veridicity.
V.

Steff Walzinger

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Feb 11, 2021, 7:38:58 PM2/11/21
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"Freddie" under contract with Decca Classics!

No, not "our" Freddie Cocozza, but Freddie De Tommaso who just signed to Decca.
He's a 27 years old promising British-Italian lyrical spinto tenor.

His debut album, "Passione," will be released in April.

Here's a teaser:




De Tommaso says, “It’s a great honour to join the ranks of illustrious tenors on the Decca Classics roster. Decca’s belief in me is both humbling and inspiring and I look forward to some exciting collaborations ahead. The songs on my debut album are all close to my heart and pay tribute to my heritage and my heroes so I hope to share their passion with as many people as possible.”

2021 marks four milestone centenaries in the ‘Year of the Tenor’: the births of Mario Lanza (31st January), Franco Corelli (8th April), Giuseppe Di Stefano (24th July) and of the death of the father of all modern tenors, Enrico Caruso (2nd August). De Tommaso’s album celebrates the songs they made famous and explores the musical landscape of his father’s family from Italy’s deep south: Casamassima, near Bari, in Puglia – once part of the Kingdom of Naples.




Derek McGovern

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Feb 11, 2021, 9:33:37 PM2/11/21
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Hi Steff: I see that Decca's publicity machine and various online outlets are describing De Tomasso as a "lyrico" (!) spinto tenor, but he doesn't sound lirico-spinto to my ears; more like a pure spinto. 

He also sounds more like 47 than 27 on that extract from "L'Alba Separa dalla  Luce l'Ombra" in the link you provided. (And he certainly seems much older than 24 on this live performance of the Lamento di Federico.) He sings a powerful B-flat, though.

Nice to see Mario being namechecked in Decca's liner notes, though I suspect De Tommaso was more influenced by the likes of Corelli and Del Monaco.

Cheers,
Derek  

Steff Walzinger

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Feb 13, 2021, 6:20:21 PM2/13/21
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I think it is very naive to think that, only because a letter in a magazine is labeled with „by Mario Lanza“ it was really penned by him personally and contains the „truth and nothing but.“ The fact alone that the said article was printed in „Screen Stars“ makes me doubt that. Wouldn’t this paper fall into the category of „Yellow Press,“ or are we talking about a serious paper comparable to the „New York Times (this is a rhetorical question!)?!

Sure, Mario might have attributed to the letter with one or another thought, but I simply believe that the article was written by a ghost writer. All this was a product of the clever print media machinery of MGM in order to advertise and promote Mario and his films to the best advantage and effect. Consequently, facts were built up, altered, made flowery and arranged to fit.  Mario’s real biography was adjusted to what MGM thought would be the perfect image to please his admiring and ardent fans. Things like the story that Mario was born in New York (which still goes around!) or that his profession was that of a druck driver (to match so perfectly with his role in „That Midnight Kiss“) just come to my mind. And of course, Mario himself contributed to create this image, mainly because he had to bow to this common Hollywood practice. I say „mainly“ because we also know that, from time to time, he seemed to have fun to spread false information and hoax people (e.g. that his mother was from Spain or that he had Jewish roots).  And yes, it worked, especially because journalists occasionally „forget“ to check facts and to investigate veracity. It’s easier and less time-consuming to crib from others! Still today we sometimes have to read this  „born in New York City“ story.


And here are just a few examples to show that Mario himself did not always get the facts right – intentionally or just by mistake:

His height was 5‘ 7 ½ (171,45 cm) according to his army records. In the Hi-Jinx Interview 24 Sept 1949 Mario claimed to be 5‘ 11 (180,34 cm) and in the RAI interview from September 1959 he had shrunk down miraculously to 5’ 10 (177, 8 cm).

Regarding his age he claimed in the Hi-Jinx Interview, Sept 1949: „This morning I was 27 and a half year old,“ although he was already 28, and on the RAI interview we hear him say that he was only born in 1925!

In the interview in Hawaii with Betty Smyser, broadcast 21 March 1950, he says „I‘ been married six years,“ although we know that he married Betty in 1945, which would only be 5 years of marriage! Incidentally, not even Betty got the time of marriage right. In an interview in early 1951 I read this: „Charming Betty Lanza met Mario … when her brother brought him home to Beverly Hills for dinner while he was a private first class in the Army Air Corps: ‚That was in July 1945, … but we didn’t have our first real date until the following October.‘ Hmmm, the first date only after they were married on 13 April 1945?!!

Other incorrect information is that he studied 13 months with Enrico Rosati (RAI interview 1959), while he worked with him 15 months (a big difference given the short timeframe they worked together!), or that his debut opera in Tanglewood was „La Bohème“ (RAI interview 1959), not „The Merry Wives of Windsor.“ Of course, all Italians wanted to hear that he debuted in a popular Italian opera, not in one written by a German composer! And last but not least, let‘s not forget the story which Mario told (very detailed in the Hi Jinx interview, 1949) about his wanting to audition for Peter Lind Hayes‘ army show „On the Beam.“ He said, that he virtually had lost his voice because of the dust in the Marfa desert, so he used a record of Caruso and labeled it with this own name in order to make Hayes believe it was kind of homemade recording of himself. Actually we know that it was a record of Met opera singer Frederick Jaegel. Now, to be honest, who would have been familiar with Jaegel, so it was a clever move to replace Jaegel with Caruso, who was a much more household name! (I would not bet that this would still be the case nowadays!).


I am sure I would find more examples to show that not everything, even when told by Mario, should be taken as a gospel, but I think the point is clear. In Germany we have a saying, which is „Papier ist geduldig,“ (paper is patient) – „Paper doesn’t blush.“ I know our two important biographers did a lot of researches (and for many years) for their books to have the facts correct - and certainly with belt and braces too!  Actually I would seriously worrying about them if they had carelessly relied on statements such as those originating from a teenager chatter magazine!  


Steff

Valeria P.

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Feb 14, 2021, 2:43:28 AM2/14/21
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So, do you prefer to believe an article written by Ida Zeitlin, published on Photoplay in 1951 (quoted in Cesari’s book, chapter 3, footnote 35), rather than an article written by Mario? I would call this naïve…  And, please, tell me, where Ms. Zeitlin found all the details, and the dialogues?

In 1950, there was an article where Mario supposedly denied his South Philadelphia origins, and Mario promptly replied with an article written by himself in which he answered back putting the record straight (Modern Screen, September 1950). Do you think that too was written by a ghost writer? Think about the books written by Callinicos, Terry Robinson, and Al Teitelbaum. They were supposedly Mario’s friends. Do you actually believe all that they wrote? Callinicos even invents the last words that supposedly Mario said when he was dying. C’mon….. Not one of them wrote those books because they wanted to tell the truth about Mario. They loved the money they thought they were going to make by writing those books, for sure. Especially Callinicos. 

None of the two magazines are the NYTimes, but I am sure even the NYTimes changes things a bit, because of its political leanings/interests. I rather prefer to believe something written by the person who lived the situation, than the article of a journalist who makes her living on gossip. It is true that MGM and all the movie companies were interested in giving a positive image of the actors working for them, but the article I mention is very much in character with Mario. It was more ‘glamorous’ stating that Mario proposed in a restaurant, rather than in Betty’s sister-in-law apartment, that is why I believe Mario’s article more, because it was not glamorous the way things went. Mario and Betty were just two young kids when they met and got married, so it makes much more sense. Plus, Mario was poor at the time. He even did no buy an engagement ring for Betty, and when they got married he could only afford a simple silver band. So, it really makes sense what’s in the article.

You mention radio interviews. It is very easy to make mistakes on dates and numbers. This happens a lot. I work for a radio and you hear this sort of mistakes all the times. So, again, Mario and Betty could have made mistakes on dates, but that is very common. Why, we make these mistakes ourselves when we talk.

Regarding the height. Remember that in Hollywood, in those years, all the leading men in movies were at least 5f10. Mario was below the average height for a leading man in movies. It is understandable that he, and those around him, ‘embellished’ the issue by making him taller than he was. There is a saying here, ‘Altezza, mezza bellezza’, which means ‘height is half the beauty’. Mario was not very tall, but thankfully he did not need to ‘rely’ on his height, because he had plenty of beauty of his own.

One more thing, and that is more on the philosophical side of the matter. Something I often think about when I read biographies. It is impossible, if not useless, writing an accurate biography on somebody. The act of writing about somebody else is itself a lie, because you are not that person. You do not know his true thoughts, feelings, motives. You are looking at that person from ‘outside’, therefore, your biography is just a literary experiment that contains maybe 40/50% of truth in it. And I am being generous. The writer is always biased, partial, because in his/her writing he/she will put his/her own opinion, judgement that inevitably distorts the truth. It is very human. You can only write about what that person did, but you cannot write about who that person was, because it is an impossible task, an act of arrogance, and an unwelcome intrusion into her/his life. As a fan, sure, I would love to know more about Mario and his life, or about the life of other famous figures in history and so on. On the other hand, knowing how impossible would be to know well somebody other than myself, I would not attempt to write a biography. Ultimately, we can only be spectators of what Mario did and thank him for what he left us in terms of his voice recordings. His life, belongs to him alone. 


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Steff Walzinger

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Feb 14, 2021, 4:39:27 PM2/14/21
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Quod erat demonstrandum …


Actually, I just feel transported back to „once upon a time," about ten years ago, when I was in the company of people, who believed that everything that Mario (really or allegedly) said and did was right and the things others did and said about him was to be doubted or even condemned - „Spirits that I’ve cited, my command ignore“ (Goethe) -  This way of idolizing is a strange and unhealthy attitude of loyal fandom, which not in the slightest does justice to Mario or any other artist who lived/lives a public life!

Yes, there are fans who find no fault on Mario at all and who see him as the perfect, godlike creature and who, when confronted with something that does not fit into their philosophy about their hero, act as if they were bitten by a big thanatophoric spider!


I see your nitpicking has now focused your attention on one particular statement in Armando’s book, which, according to the footnotes, was based on the article „The Mario Lanza Story“ written by Ida Zeitlin (Photoplay 1951). So what?! „Life Stories,“ such as the said one, actually were the result of interviews conducted with the actor/singer themselves or his circle of family (e.g. Betty Lanza or Mario’s parents), colleagues and friends.  Consequently, there’s no fault that a biographer uses this information! As for Mario’s letter, I stick to it, it was written by a ghostwriter as were other similar letters (e.g. the „A Personal Letter From Mario Lanza for You - Because You Believe,“ from „Modern Screen, May 1955). Do you really believe that Mario would sit down to write this himself? Then you might also believe that our today’s politicians pen their speeches themselves!!! Keep on dreaming! Due to the lack of time they have their staff to take over and create this poetry.


No, I don’t believe in all the stories from the Callinicos, Robinson and Teitelbaum books, even if they might have a grain of truth at times, and they are far away of being called a biography. Yes, they were written on the purpose of sensationalism which sells better than the truth. Some writers certainly hoped they could profit financially from the late Mario’s fame. Actually their works were, to some extent, a continuation of all that had been written about Mario in the newspaper gossip columns during all the years of his career.


I don’t think that I have to advocate our main biographers Armando Cesari and Derek Mannering here, as they are well able to speak up themselves and have their say and make their points. What I want to mention, however, is that in all the many years that I have been friends with both of them (and also with dear Derek McGovern) - friendships which I immensely enjoy and which I do not take for granted - I have led some lively - objective and competent-  discussions. I have noticed how accurate they are in what they do, and that everything they say and write is the result of seriously acquired and long researched material. Derek Mannering and Armando might be worlds apart in their thinking and opinions at times – which I sometimes regret - but both are characterized by absolute integrity. Being German, and we Germans are often criticized for being too pedantic and too accurate, I am sometimes overtrumped by the wealth of knowledge and accuracy of those Irish-American and Italian-Australian „fellows.“ And I am 500% sure that neither of them wrote their books for „glamour effect,“ which would mean they invented stories to make their books sell better! Ah no! They wrote their books out of sheer admiration of Mario’s talent! Do you actually know, how many people they interviewed for their books?!!


If you find so much fault in biographies – and I am exceedingly relieved to hear that you are not planning to write one about Mario yourself! – then tell me, should biographies not be written because the authors did/do not know the celebrity in person? Poor Cesar, Luther, Verdi, Puccini and Caruso etc.!!! We would be poorly off if we only had the books of Callincos & Co. – although they knew Mario!!!!

For all I care, sit on your dreamy Mario cloud, jump on the sentimental bandwagon and believe what you want to believe, but do not present it as the „non plus ultra“ fact, hereby giving the impression that our biographers did not do their job well enough! Don’t give the impression of knowing it all better. You have appeared on the „Lanza scene“ only a few years ago, our distinguished biographers, on the contrary, have had their firm place here for decades! And right so! My hope still is that Armando and/or Derek Mannering might consider to publish new editions of their biographies, since a lot of new things have been unearthed since their first/second publications (maybe you do your homework for a change and visit, for example, our extensive and regularly updated list of live performances – which certainly was not easily done off the cuff and took a lot of time-consuming check backing!) These are the „new“ facts that I would  wish to find their way into an edited book, but certainly not this groundbreaking discovery – true or not - about Mario and the location of his courtship!


As a side note, wasn’t it you, who many months ago, was rushing so eagerly to contact a person in England to look for photos of Mario‘s 1959 Easter party with some of his English fans at Villa Badoglio? A party that we know never took place!!!!

And then I was just reminded of your interview with Luisa di Meo, the little cameo role singer, sometime last year. When I read it back then, I had to smile at her flowery recollections of the filming in Rome and her time she spent with the Lanzas, since it sounded different to a story which Damon Lanza had to tell in an interview in 1976 - something Luisa, a first-hand witness, apparently had „forgotten“ in all the years. May I just quote Damon: „Do you remember the scene in that movie where my father is singing ‚Arrivederci Roma‘ at the fountain of Trevi with a little Italian girl? Well, she was a real brat. My father found her in the streets singing while her father played the accordion“ [note from Steff: I think it was her brother]. He liked her so much that he put the both of them in his movie … but, it didn’t stop there. He brought her to our house so that she could play with us. We gave her clothes that no longer fit us and some that did. It always seemed as if she wanted more and more. My sister was giving her some trinkets and toys one day, when she exploded and threw all of our gifts on the floor and screamed that she wanted our angora cat. My sister, Colleen, who was first to think that this girl was less than innocent, screamed back and chased her out of the house. During the time we knew her we found many things missing from our rooms. So did our parents … they found money and other things missing. That girl had some way of showing her appreciation.“

And last but not least, and this is not about Mario, I remember your posting on Jeff Rense’s forum on 10 March 2019: „Domingo molested many women, therefore, it is fair he gets what he deserves: public shame and legal suits. He may have been a great tenor, and he was, but he is also a pig, and deserves punishment.“ Hmmm and wow! I am just wondering, if you eye witnessed those events which were alleged by some attention seeking individuals. Did you hide yourself under the bed or in a wardrobe of his dressing room? At least it sounded like this!!


Well, enough said! „Tutto è stato già detto!“ Any additional comment would be a waste of effort and energy, as one cannot change an inconvincible person‘s mind!


Steff

 

Derek McGovern

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Mar 27, 2021, 2:51:39 AM3/27/21
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Has anyone watched this colourised version of the London Palladium performance?


It's fascinating to see it in a pretty good colourisation, but I wish the sound hadn't been altered to give it more reverb and a stereo effect. I've just been comparing it with the restored version of the Palladium concert that was featured as an extra on the "Mario Lanza: Best of Everything" doco DVD, and I much prefer the sound on that disc. Mario's voice is fuller and more forward. 

Steff Walzinger

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May 13, 2021, 4:14:33 PM5/13/21
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Here's an interesting article about Bill Earl. I think I am not wrong in saying that he's the oldest Mario Lanza fan, since he just turned 106!!
I had the pleasure of meeting Bill and his lovely wife Judith back in May 2012 in Baden-Baden, where we spent two lovely afternoons with
Ellisa Lanza - Bregman and her husband Bobby. Ellisa had been invited by the SWR TV station as a guest in "Ich trage einen großen Namen."
Bill is a real phenomenon - and so young in mind!
I wish him all the best for his birthday and am happy to see that he's still doing so well. Warm greetings from me to you, dear Bill and Judith! 


Steff
P.S.: Attached is a photo of Bill from Baden-Baden 2012, which I took in the hotel lobby, where we met up with Ellisa and Bobby.

Bill Earl, Baden-Baden 2012.JPG

Steff Walzinger

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May 21, 2021, 4:22:58 PM5/21/21
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This sounds most interesting:


"The collection spans more than a century of outstanding tenors, from Enrico Caruso, the first celebrity of the recording era, to legendary names such as Beniamino Gigli, Franco Corelli, Jussi Björling, Alfredo Kraus, Jon Vickers, Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras and Plácido Domingo. Also featured are the great tenors of today tipped to be the legends of the future, including Jonas Kaufmann whose unique voice and engaging stage presence place him at the forefront of modern tenor singing. Alongside these great figures of the operatic stage, the edition explores the hugely influential film career of Mario Lanza and the unprecedented popular appeal of Andrea Bocelli.

A must-have edition, for sure!

Steff
Opera Now, The Greatest Tenors.JPG
Special Collector's Edition published today by Opera Now magazine.JPG

Derek McGovern

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May 22, 2021, 1:33:35 AM5/22/21
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Thanks for alerting us to this, Steff. While it beggars belief that Bocelli has been included among the world's " greatest" and most "outstanding" tenors, and is featured so prominently on the cover---whereas the likes of Di Stefano and Wunderlich are nowhere to be seen---I'm naturally delighted that Lanza is being acknowledged here. Looking forward to reading this!

Derek  

Steff Walzinger

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May 22, 2021, 7:35:00 AM5/22/21
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Hi Derek,

The fact that  a photo of Bocelli is shown on the cover - and doubtless in much too big a size!! - and "Opera Now" ranks him among the "greatest tenors" - has made me worry!!
I've never understood the hype made about him and am still waiting for the "popular appeal," the magazine is talking about in its announcement. I also do not go with the masses when it comes to the "baritone" (LOL) Jonas Kaufmann and the eulogies he is permanently graced with! I am trying to get hold of a copy of the magazine, so let's see who - apart from the few tenors explicitly mentioned - is featured. If Fritz Wunderlich, whose 55th anniversary of death will be this coming September, is not, I will definitely fall into despair, and I think Armando might probably do the same for Giuseppe di Stefano!!

Steff

Steff Walzinger

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May 24, 2021, 6:55:56 AM5/24/21
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Just as an addition. From the Gramophone newsletter.


Greatest Tenors.JPG

Peter Danish

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May 24, 2021, 10:31:15 AM5/24/21
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That is an odd bunch and poor editing on the magazine's part.   The singers pictured are not the ones listed below.    And frankly...  I would not include Carreras or Kaufman in any list of 10 greatest tenors.  IMHO.   --Peter

Peter Danish

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May 24, 2021, 10:37:25 AM5/24/21
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I have a question for the group.  Something that I have been curious about but could never find the answer to.  I have seen in various articles over the years a very nice quotation from Franco Corelli regarding Mario's voice.  But I have never been able to find the source.  And about 20 years ago when my wife was taking singing lessons from Loretta Corelli (Franco's wife) I asked him what he thought of Lanza and he told me he could not judge, since he had never heard him sing live only on records.  Does anybody know where that quote came from?   

I'd like to include it in a compendium of quotes that are part of a project I'm working on, but I'd like to get some verification.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!   THANKS!
-Peter

Steff Walzinger

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May 25, 2021, 12:03:30 PM5/25/21
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Hello to all,

Recently, I came across this article about Jessie Harper Linde (1887 - 1965), impresaria, arts promoter and concert manager who sponsored more than 750 events in Phoenix, Arizona.


The article mentions that Mario was among the many stars she brought to Phoenix.
I am not aware that Mario ever sang in Phoenix except, if I am not mistaken, with "On the Beam" during his army time.
An obituary of Mrs. Linde, which I found (see attachment), says that Mario was only "a rising star," when he came to Phoenix, so do we speak about a
time around 1946 or a little later? Any idea?

Steff



Obituary Jessie Harper Linde.JPG

Derek McGovern

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May 25, 2021, 7:25:42 PM5/25/21
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Hello Peter:

I'm not sure which quotation from Corelli you're referring to, but there is no doubt that he admired Lanza. On his Cinema TV concert back in 2015, for example, Andrea Bocelli, for example, mentioned to Placido Domingo that Corelli had told him that he liked Lanza. Domingo, an ardent Lanza admirer, responded: "Who wouldn't?!"

More significantly, the former New York City Opera soprano Elaine Malbin, who is still alive (and apparently in fine fettle), stated at the Met Guild Tribute to Lanza in 2005 that Corelli had told her, "Mario Lanza had the voice of the century." I heard a recording of this event at the time.

Incidentally, in case you aren't aware of it, I've compiled a list of quotations about Lanza from opera singers who either worked with him or heard him sing in person here:


I hope this helps.

Derek 

Peter Danish

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May 25, 2021, 8:24:52 PM5/25/21
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THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

This is exactly what I needed.  So many quotes have been bandied about for years and I've lost sources for several so this is very helpful.  

Re: Corelli's comments.... he was a very "interesting" fellow.  I liked him very much personally, but he did and said some really not so sweet things to and about people. . One day he told me Richard Tucker had the single greatest voice he'd ever heard.  A few weeks later, he said Tucker was mediocre, had no finesse and no style whatsoever and would never have made it in Italy.  LOL  I guess it depended on when you caught him.    

I'm working on a film concerning Lanza -- not specifically about him, but involving him.   It will shoot this summer in Italy.  I'll keep you posted!   
Thanks very much again!

Best,
Peter



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Derek McGovern

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May 26, 2021, 1:31:54 AM5/26/21
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Hi Steff,

I enjoyed that article (including its references to the ongoing shenanigans in Arizona by the Republican Party), and I'd like to think that the colourful Jessie Linde did indeed meet Lanza.

I guess it's possible that she (or whoever wrote her obituary) "burnished her credentials" a little by crediting her with bringing Lanza to Phoenix during his On the Beam days. But it's equally possible that the Bel Canto Trio popped over to Arizona when, for example, they were performing in neighbouring New Mexico in December 1947. There would have been (just enough) time for a Phoenix diversion between the Trio's December 1st concert in Albuquerque and their next confirmed (2nd?) concert in Chicago a week later. [See this constantly updated list of all known Lanza performances.] 

Another mystery for you to solve,  Steff! :)

Derek  

Steff Walzinger

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May 26, 2021, 6:58:01 AM5/26/21
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Derek, 
I suppose the Corelli quote in question was the one that was cited on the revers of Armando's Lanza biography: 
"Mario Lanza's singing was both convincing and full of heart."

Steff

Steff Walzinger

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May 26, 2021, 7:44:40 AM5/26/21
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I was just reminded of this.

Corelli to play Lanza, La Stampa.JPG

Steff Walzinger

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May 28, 2021, 5:45:57 AM5/28/21
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I was just told (actually, I must have missed this in the German news) that Amazon bought MGM.


I wonder would this have any effect on Mario's films? More Blu ray releases?

Steff 

Steff Walzinger

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May 30, 2021, 8:18:02 AM5/30/21
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Hello to all,

Today, I just spotted a number of somewhat odd releases on Amazon. Books - in printed as well as Kindle version, which pretend to be Mario Lanza biographies.

At first sight I immediately got the impression that these cannot be regarded as very serious publications.
The names of the authors are Preston Cripe,  Carlos Selim, Emerald Gisriel, Curtis Rovack and Rocky Golaszewski.
I was able to have a "look inside" into the two offered Kindle versions by Carlos Selim and Rocky Golaszewski. Don't ask me what prompted me to check with the books of our Mario Lanza biographers, BUT I did, and would you believe, both seem to be transcriptions of Armando's book, "Mario Lanza - An American Tragedy!" 

As I cannot think of Armando publishing his biography under a pseudonym (unless it would be "Herrmann Kaiser," LOL), I am speechless in light of this audacious plagiarism.
And now I would, of course, be very interested in figuring out, if the other - printed - releases, too, can be revealed as plagiarism. 

Steff
Stolen Material, Lanza biography - A. Cesari No.1.JPG
Mario Lanza biography by Preston Cripe, independently published, May 2021, amazon.JPG
Biograhies of Famous People - Mario Lanza's Life, by Curtis Rovack, independently published, May 2021, amazon.JPG
Stolen Material, Lanza biography - A. Cesari No.2.JPG
Elements of Performing Arts - by Rocky Golaszewski Kindle content from Armando Cesari's biography.JPG
Biographies of Successful Actors - The Story of Mario Lanza's Life, by Emerald Gisriel, independently published, May 2021, amazon.JPG
Biographies of Successful Actors - The Story of Mario Lanza's Life, Kindle by Carlos Selim.JPG

Derek McGovern

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May 30, 2021, 9:06:54 AM5/30/21
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Well spotted, Steff!!

Armando discovered this outrage a few hours ago, and will be reporting it at the earliest possible opportunity. I just hope that no gullible person purchases one of these "books" before they are (hopefully) removed.  

These outrageous attempts to rip off Armando's book---apparently word for word!---seem to have been perpetrated by a non-native speaker of English (and accomplices?), as the titles and descriptions are badly written and inaccurate. I trust that will be enough to alert any intelligent would-be buyer to the fact that something is clearly wrong here.

Derek    

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 11, 2021, 6:10:45 AM7/11/21
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Hello to everybody!

Here's a brand new interview from "Operwire" with Joseph Calleja, titled, "Q & A: Joseph Calleja on 'Tosca,' Mario Lanza and the Future of Opera."


Excerpts: 

Operawire: You started taking singing lessons at quite an early age. Why, despite not coming from an artistic background, did you become interested in singing?

Joseph Calleja: Well, I was born with a voice. At the age of three or four, I was singing everything I heard on TV commercials, choir, and sacred music. They couldn’t shut me up. And then at the age of 13, I saw the movie “The Great Caruso,” and I joined a choir instantly. I even sang in performances of “Rigoletto” when I was 14.


OW:  Tell me about the “obsession” you had with Mario Lanza when you were young?

JC: I fell in love with his voice, like many others. Singers like Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras had been the introduction to opera for many people. Lanza didn’t sing much opera. He sang only once or twice. But in recordings, you can see that he had one of the most beautiful voices. He was the first crossover tenor as well. I think he was the first million-dollar contract if I am not mistaken. So, it’s quite extraordinary. And when Luciano came, he eclipsed everyone. Luciano is probably the greatest phenomenon when it comes to media. But in Lanza’s time, he was as big as Michael Jackson.

Happy reading!

Steff


Mario Lanza, Calleja interview, operawire, 10 July 2021.JPG

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 12, 2021, 12:46:42 PM7/12/21
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I just received the online newsletter from "Gramophone" and am delighted to see that the August 2021 issue will feature our four anniversary tenors, Enrico Caruso, Mario Lanza, Giuseppe di Stefano and Franco Corelli:

"The great tenors of the past - Caruso, Corelli, Di Stefano and Lanza - remembered by the stars of today. Roberto Alagna, Joseph Calleja and Rolando Villazon.

The issue has been on sale from 9th July!

.
Steff



Gramophone August 2021, Mario Lanza.JPG

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 13, 2021, 7:31:06 PM7/13/21
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Here are two nice statements of Joseph Calleja and Roberto Alagna, which I was able to make out from the blurred online preview of the August Gramophone issue:

Calleja: "Lanza was a hybrid, the first tenor who had it big in the media, who as able to marry fluent pronunciation, pathos and intensity in both the Italian and the English languages [...]. As a voice many critics disregard Mario Lanza, but I don't, and I am a tenor fanatic."

Alagna: "When you hear Lanza at home studying the Improvviso from 'Andrea Chénier, it is amazing," Alagna confides, referring to a recording that is available on You Tube. "He was so good, so perfect, the voice so rich and with the right temperament - this recording is a miracle." 

Steff

Derek McGovern

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Jul 14, 2021, 9:04:58 PM7/14/21
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That's a great quote from Alagna, Steff, and so true about the 1952 home recording of the Improvviso (which can be heard on our main site here).

I don't agree, however, with Calleja's view that "As a voice many critics disregard Mario Lanza." I think he's being too defensive. While there are certainly still plenty of snobs and misinformed individuals who look down on Lanza as a singer,  I would say that those who disregard his voice are in a distinct minority these days. In fact, it would be hard to take seriously any expert on operatic voices who had actually listened properly to Lanza's recordings and still maintained that he didn't possess an outstanding vocal gift. After all, the evidence is overwhelming! 

Derek

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 15, 2021, 8:26:15 AM7/15/21
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Hi Derek,

I did not sense Calleja’s comment as „too defensive,“ as I, too, have the impression that Lanza is still tagged with a certain (fortunately declining) stigma and still not 100 percent accepted in the regard of being a fully accomplished singer/tenor in the classic meaning. We still have to deal with the, „Yes, he had a great voice, BUT…“ - attitude. And then comes this ever lasting cliché about Mario’s short comings due to his lack of stage experience and vocal tutorial.

I was just reminded of our local newspaper man from the arts section, who apparently regarded Lanza‘s singing rather as some good, pleasant „tralala,“ being put into the crooner section, instead of seeing him as an intelligent and serious artist on a higher level. And I often get the impression that some people, the so called experts, still try (hard) to find fault with his singing (in Germany we have a nice saying, which is „ein Haar in der Suppe finden – to find a hair in the soup), although they are running out of arguments by now. Obviously, it is hard for them to accept the facts. Are other tenors so much more perfect, only because they have had an opera stage career? The fact that notably the great tenors praise Lanza should even convince the last unbelievers, so should the great accolade of a reputable magazine such as „Gramophone,“ which now features Lanza as one of the „Tenor Heroes“ and „Voices of God!“ The writer of the article speaks of Lanza’s vocal organ as a voice that „seemed to burst through the speakers, an unbuttoned, red-blooded sound.“ Now, who would have expected this!! Lanza surely has reached the hights of Olympus! And his lobby is growing.

In the Gramophone article of the latest 2021 August issue, which I have on hand now, Villazon, for example, is praising Pavarotti’s voice as „luminous, extraordinary, out-of-this-world,“ and he adds, „on hearing him, there’s nobody ‚who would not recognise him.“ Yes, indeed, Pavarotti’s voice is easily recognizable. Recognizability, of course, is essential in order to set oneself apart from the average tenor. But pardon me, I am no musical expert, but Pavarotti’s voice „out of this world?“  Pavarotti might have had an almost perfect technique, but in my opinion he totally lacked expression and emotion. Whenever I hear him sing popular Italian songs I am suprised at the almost complete lack of passion (now, not everybody appreciates the tenor sobs, but in Pavarotti’s case they would have helped immensely to catch his listeners heart!) -and it would have been so easy for him to score in this section and make it his own, since Italian was his native language. I think here, without doubt, the wheat is sorted from the chaff. Lanza overshines (does this word exist? If not, I’ve just invented it!!) effortlessly. Let alone Mario’s acting skills which should not be underestimated - and one has to wonder where he got them from. I remember seeing a TV screening of „Aida“ (I think it was from the MET), and weighty Pavarotti as Radames leaning somewhat relaxed on a stone, at the very end of the last act of the opera, singing about his being locked up forever in the tomb with his beloved Aida, and just about to die in complete darkness. Absolutely ridiculous! Imagine Lanza had acted that way!

A few months back I was in contact with a man, who for sure has known many of the great opera singers past and present and really can be called an (studied) expert in music and voices. He acknowledged Lanza’s skills, calling him an „incredibly talented opera tenor,“ but could not go without the stereotype opinion that Lanza simply missed the „final touch“ due to his lack of stage experience. What does the one have to do with the other? This man concluded with, „[he was] a superb opera tenor, a great crooner and film star.! Voilà, here we go again with this thing called reservation. Incidentally, the very same man stated, after I had sent him the private recordings of Mario’s mother, Maria, that the „Frau Mama“ sang „charmingly,“ but with a very slight American accent, which in Mario’s case was even „more distinctive“ in his opinion (now, there’s some new reproval you can run after!!).

Incidentally, Alagna commented in the Gramophone article, „A lot of singers take on songs like ‚Because‘ or ‚Be My Love,‘ but they are never like Mario Lanza. The colour was very special, because he had everything – top notes, timbre, phrasing. He put a lot of energy and blood into his sound. The fabric, the texture of the voice is very particular, and even when he sang crossover, it was always in a good style with a good technique.“

 

Derek, on another note, I am still enjoying the latest Sepia CD – although some of my neighbours complained the other day about my playing the music too loud – no kidding!). It is a big „break“ from those average CDs that usually feature the same „evergreen stuff“ such as „Be My Love or „“Because You’re Mine.“ The liner notes are so well elaborated – I would run out of ideas to offer something new  and special after so many successful releases! I am especially delighted that you included gems such as the „Otello“ love duet, which I think would usually not make it on a CD (of course we would have wished for Mario to have a better soprano by his side). I am sure most of the Lanza fans appreciate this jubilee release, which is a very good variety of „all Lanza.“ I have seen many faithful fans „promoting“ the CD on FB, encouraging their friends to get hold of a copy under all circumstances (and I see Bill Ronayne, too, is very diligent in getting copies to the fan base. It is still amazing that neither of our other centenarian tenors has been worth so far to be remembered with a tribute CD. 

Thinking of Mario and „Otello“ I once again want to bring a statement to mind, that music critic Jens Malte Fischer wrote in his book, „Große Stimmen:“ Make the experiment  and play an operatic recording of Lanza (let‘s take the scene Otello/Desdemona, ‚Dio ti giocondi‘) without mentioning his name, and offer a comparison to other operatic voices. You will observe, that all those listeners will be impressed, who usually would have reservations when knowing that it is Lanza singing.“

Steff


Armando Cesari

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Jul 15, 2021, 8:09:24 PM7/15/21
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Steff,

Your comments about  Pavarotti are spot on. Pavarotti had a good lyric voice (light lyric at the start) with an easy top and a good technique. In Herbert Breslin, he also had an extremely shrewd manager. What Pavarotti lacked was the essential quality that makes a great singer, namely temperament. As you pointed out he totally lacked expression and emotion and this was because he merely sang the notes and did not feel the meaning of the lyrics. As a consequence, with few exceptions such as Nemorino in L’Elisir D’amore where he plays the fool, his identification with most of his other roles is non-existent and in some cases, such as Cavaradossi, laughable.

But all the general public knows and wants to hear is “Vincero.’” (most don’t even know that the title of the aria is Nessun Dorma) They wait for the final high B and go into ecstasy.

Breslin was managing Domingo when he took on Pavarotti as a client. Domingo felt that Breslin could not do equal justice to both tenors and decide to leave him. As a consequence, Breslin swore that he would turn Pavarotti into a megastar. Almost entirely based on the 9 high Cs Pavarotti sang in the opera The Daughter of the Regiment at the Met in 1972, Breslin sold Pavarotti to the masses as the second coming and as the greatest vocal phenomenon ever and the public fell for it hook, line, and sinker.  It’s a case of, you can fool most of the people most of the time.

Armando 


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rxxre eves

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Jul 16, 2021, 2:16:54 AM7/16/21
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Listening to Pavarotti is like hearing a computer sing.  Everything is perfect - but no feeling.

Derek McGovern

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Jul 16, 2021, 2:27:17 AM7/16/21
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"Listening to Pavarotti is like hearing a computer sing.  Everything is perfect - but no feeling."

You've just summed up exactly how I feel about Pavarotti's singing. As Di Stefano once remarked: "I sing words; Luciano sings notes."

AZENCOT MARCEL

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Jul 16, 2021, 5:33:21 AM7/16/21
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I think we all agree with Steff and Di Stefano. Pav was like obsessed by the sound (see him on You Tube with Sutherland,Bonynge and Marylin Horne, he says : "took me ten years to make this sound", compared to the same note sung a little bit differently).
It seems sound came naturally to Lanza as a bonus for the heart. Now listen to "Papano on Lanza" and you'll see Lanza is on the best rank: a class of his own, where no one is sitting near him.
One question: why did Calleja set a world tour as tribute "to Mario Lanza" and not, say, Gigli, Pertile, Schipa, or even Di Stefano or even' Caruso ? Because of Lanza's magic. Magic is magic, probably because of emotion and emotion because of herat and humanity. And all this goes xith the man.
What have you to say about the others? They sang here and they sang there. Fine. And what?
 And speaking about singing, Calleja sung 9 numbers only in Paris, including one "encore", explaining, fingers on the. throat " I have to save a little bit of my voice for tomorrow, because I'll be singing in Stockholm"... The rest was the orchestra. I was there and offered him the Lanza Cd my society Opera club had done for the fiftieth anniversary of ML passing, with our 12 page booklet. In other interwiews he said something like: "of course I'm not comparing myself whatsoever with Mario Lanza"... Papano said he was "the most famous tenor ever, par non!"and he sings along with Lanza on the screen with real love. Love is not what other singers give ...and receive..
Best

Le ven. 16 juil. 2021 à 08:27, Derek McGovern <derek.m...@gmail.com> a écrit :
"Listening to Pavarotti is like hearing a computer sing.  Everything is perfect - but no feeling."

You've just summed up exactly how I feel about Pavarotti's singing. As Di Stefano once remarked: "I sing words; Luciano sings notes."

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Steff Walzinger

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Jul 16, 2021, 6:37:07 AM7/16/21
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„Singers should sing words, not notes. The words tell the story of the music and should be made clear to those who want to hear them. I will never sing an operatic aria if I do not know the words because I do not believe that the melody is enough, no matter how beautiful it may be.“                                                                                                                                                              (Mario Lanza, 1959).

„To me, the words are pivotal. Without lyrics I am lost,  I don’t know what to do. Without lyrics I am not even able to  place my voice properly.“                                                                          (Franco Bonisolli in an interview with director August Everding1997)

Steff

Peter Danish

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Jul 16, 2021, 10:58:35 AM7/16/21
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I'm going to play devil's advocate for a minute here.   😀

Franco Corelli told me that he thought Pavarotti was:

"Fantastic in almost every way.  His ability to communicate the meaning of the text is the best - the best.  He sing like a man. Full of emotion and pride - very Italian.   You don't hear him cry like baby when he sing.  That is the worst...the cheapest kind of singing, "melodramatico".   Is fake passion!   Luciano never sound fake, he sound always genuine. That is why he sound so good, especially in the verismo.   Now...I no like the "timbre" of his voice, personally, Lauri-Volpe, DiStefano, I prefer that kind of sound.  But that is matter of personal taste.    
-F. Correlli

I'm not a huge Pav devotee, but in all honesty, in over 40 years of attending the opera, I have to say that in the theater, Pavarotti was by far the most thrilling sound I've ever heard from a tenor  

-Peter
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Derek McGovern

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Jul 16, 2021, 11:08:07 PM7/16/21
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Thanks for sharing your perspective, Peter.  I never heard Pavarotti in the theatre, but my issue with him is not his basic timbre or easily produced upper register, but rather the way he used his voice. With a few exceptions, I find his interpretations as dull as ditchwater---and, despite what Corelli felt about them---not Italianate at all. 

I'm amazed that Corelli felt Pavarotti was especially suited to verismo opera. In fact, I can't think of a less well-suited leading tenor (either vocally or interpretatively) to roles such as Cavaradossi and Canio. 

There was no "fake passion" with Pavarotti, Corelli says. Yes, I agree. But to my ears there was no actual passion either!

Derek

Peter Danish

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Jul 17, 2021, 12:17:06 AM7/17/21
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I was just playing devil's advocate Derek!    Corelli had a lot of "opinions" and often they changed.  LOL.   But he did tend to defend Pav against detractors (and had absolutely nothing positive to say about Domingo). But he said regularly that he detested even the slightest hint of a sob in the voice (though recordings show clearly that he was not above using them himself!)  At the end of the day he was right about one thing, to great extent, it is a matter of personal taste and preference.
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Peter Danish

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Jul 17, 2021, 12:19:52 AM7/17/21
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At some point I need to share with the group my interview with Licia Albanese.  She had PLENTY to say about Lanza!  😜
-pd
On Fri, Jul 16, 2021 at 11:08 PM Derek McGovern <derek.m...@gmail.com> wrote:
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Armando Cesari

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Jul 19, 2021, 12:42:50 AM7/19/21
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I find Corelli’s statement that Pavarotti was suited to verismo simply astonishing. I heard Pavarotti on a number of occasions both with and without amplification. His voice and  temperament (or lack of it) were ideally suited to the bel canto repertoire –namely Donizetti and Bellini which requires a good technique (that he had) and an extended vocal compass.

The voice of the unmiked Pavarotti who sang at the Melbourne Concert Hall in 1983, and which has a seating capacity of almost 2500, was strictly a lyric one. The voice had hardly changed when I heard him again at a rehearsal I attended in 1991. To suggest that he would have been suitable both voice wise and interpretably for say, Andrea Chenier, which he recorded, is beyond my comprehension, because apart from the unsuitability of the voice, he doesn’t feel the role and, consequently, he sounds as if he is not involved in the drama.  

Armando


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Peter Danish

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Jul 19, 2021, 9:12:18 AM7/19/21
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Dear Armando,

I hear you.  But I will politely disagree.   I saw Pavarotti -- very late in his career - sing Chenier at the Met and it was really wonderful.  Not like the Pav of say 1970 but still very impressive for a man approaching 60 years old.   Here is a clip.


Corelli was very clear in his thoughts.  He said "let the music do the talking."  But as I said in my previous email, his contention that the detested "sobbing" of any kind, was clearly an example of "do as I say, not as I do."  Because he surely employed his fair share of sobs.  

Best,
Peter

Armando Cesari

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Jul 19, 2021, 7:23:32 PM7/19/21
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Dear Peter,

What can I say? To each his own. The unmiked voice of Pavarotti that I heard in in the 2466 seats Concert Hall as opposed to the 3800 seats of the Met was quite small and not large enough for Chenier, so  I’m wondering whether the Met Chenier you heard used amplification.

Regardless, I find his performance studied rather than felt and his habit of dragging the vowels, EG. Animaaa , Praati, Pietaaa, Peeetto intolerable.  But as I said before, to each his own.☺

Cheers,

Armando 


Steff Walzinger

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Jul 30, 2021, 1:24:50 PM7/30/21
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Hello to all,

Here's a very interesting article about Mario Lanza, "Voci nella storia: Mario Lanza, il divo-tenore del grande schermo che sognava il teatro, (Mario Lanza, the star tenor of the big screen who dreamed of the theatre" by Pietro Dall'Aglio.


Simply use google translate or a similar translator. 

Steff
Voci nella storia.JPG

Steff Walzinger

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Aug 13, 2021, 6:47:13 PM8/13/21
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Hello to all,

For all those, who want to gain a little insight into the newly opened Mario Lanza Museum in Philadelphia, have a look here:

An episode of "You Oughta Know."


Steff


Steff Walzinger

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Aug 15, 2021, 6:04:24 AM8/15/21
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Hope you enjoy!

"Tenors are Tops" from "The Opera Show"


"Today's special edition of The Opera Show celebrates centenaries of some iconic tenors. Hear Enrico Caruso, Franco Corelli, Giuseppe di Stefano and Mario Lanza together with favourite tenors from the past and present."

Steff
Tenors are Tops.JPG

Steff Walzinger

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Aug 23, 2021, 7:10:04 AM8/23/21
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Hi there,

Here's a photo I just wanted to share with you and of which I think not many fans might have seen it before.
It shows Mario, Betty and the children and was most likely taken in 1958 at the backyards of Villa Badoglio in Rome.
Happy times ...

Steff


Hollywoodschaukel Lanzas.JPG

Derek McGovern

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Aug 24, 2021, 6:58:08 AM8/24/21
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Hi Steff:

Thanks for sharing that. We have very few colour photos of the family (and not that many of Mario himself), so this is a welcome addition. It's a lovely portrait.

Speaking of colour photos, the pic below was taken in St. Moritz on January 3, 1959, and was also part of a family portrait. I've simply cropped and enlarged it (enhancing it somewhat in the process), as I was curious to see how well Mario looked here. Given that the photos taken that day (and this is the only colour one that I've seen) represent the last confirmed photos we have of him, I find this cropped version both poignant and fascinating.

Mario actually looks quite well here. He appears healthier around the eyes than in For the First Time, which he'd only finished filming around 5-6 weeks earlier. (In the interim he'd recorded the great Mario! album, so he hadn't exactly been resting his laurels.) 

Given that this photo, along with Steff's one above, only recently came to light, can we dare to hope for any more discoveries from those final years in Rome?

Derek


Jan 3, 1959.jpg

Steff Walzinger

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Sep 11, 2021, 11:17:37 AM9/11/21
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Hello to All,

It seems that we have another case of "stolen identity" on Amazon.
A few months ago, Armando Cesari became the victim of this audacity, now Lindsay Perigo is the next.
His book "The One Tenor - A Salute to Mario Lanza" has been published on Amazon under the name of various, most certainly faked "authors."
All books were released last August.
Please don't take the bait and and do not order those books!!!!!

Steff

Stolen identity No.1.JPG
Stolen identity No.4.JPG
Stolen identity No.6.JPG
Stolen identity No.7.JPG
Stolen identity No.2.JPG
Stolen identity No.3.JPG
Stolen identity No.5.JPG

Steff Walzinger

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Sep 26, 2021, 8:45:28 AM9/26/21
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Hello to All.

In September 2020, a book was released (Australian Publisher), titled, "The History of Molise and Abruzzo Italy: A Journey From the Ancient Samnites to My Mother."
I understand there's a reference to Mario Lanza, as the bibliography lists Armando's book.

Steff
The History of Molise and Abruzzo, book, 2020.JPG

Steff Walzinger

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Jan 27, 2022, 6:10:54 AM (yesterday) Jan 27
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Hello to All!

I wanted to point out a book to you, which I just came across yesterday. 
The book is titled, "She Damn Near Ran the Studio - The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman" by Jacqueline R. Braitman.
As you know, being the executive secretary of Louis B. Mayer she pulled the strings at MGM in the background, so to speak, and started the ball rolling for Mario coming to the attention of Mayer.
I have attached the excerpts of the book. The book was released in 2020 and is available on Amazon.

Please also follow this link:


Steff 
Koverman 2.JPG
Koverman 1.JPG
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