Latest Site Additions (on mariolanzatenor.com)

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Derek McGovern

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Mar 31, 2013, 6:18:14 AM3/31/13
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This is a new thread for announcements of latest additions to our main site

Derek McGovern

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Apr 18, 2013, 4:10:00 AM4/18/13
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I've added popular conductor Arthur Fiedler to our Mario Lanza Musical Who's Who:
 
 
Thanks to Steff for reminding me about the Fiedler-Lanza connection, and for providing additional information about their concert together.
 
With this latest addition, our list of known conductors who worked with Lanza now stands at an impressive 39!
 
Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Jun 16, 2013, 10:42:57 PM6/16/13
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We now have a revamped and greatly expanded Lanza and the Press section, with separate pages devoted to Concerts/Opera 1942-1950, the 1951 tour, and live appearances and recitals from 1954, 1957, and 1958.
 
Two of the other Press pages---movies and albums---have also been expanded. Don't miss the delightfully snobbish putdowns of various Lanza films from the (London) Times!

Enjoy!
 
Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Jun 19, 2013, 5:43:08 AM6/19/13
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Here is one more new feature: a list of every known song, aria, duet, etc, that Lanza performed in public between 1940 and 1958---and when he first did so:


This is a precursor to a much bigger project that hopefully isn't too much further away: a list of all known live performances by Lanza.      

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Jun 28, 2013, 3:27:09 AM6/28/13
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We have another new feature on our main site: an introduction to Lanza's LPs and the best of his CDs. Hope you enjoy it! 
 
 
Many thanks to Lee Ann, as always, for her aesthetic assistance!
 
Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Jul 16, 2013, 11:29:41 PM7/16/13
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Having noticed a surprising number of "hits" this month on the essay Mario Lanza: Myths About the Man on our main site (where it's currently the most visited feature by far), I then learned that searches relating to Lanza and the Mafia have been behind much of this interest.   

Re-reading the essay this morning, I felt that more could have been written demolishing the ridiculous "Lanza was murdered by the Mafia" myth, so I've gone ahead and expanded the section. Here's the result:

Derek McGovern

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Jul 17, 2013, 11:50:51 PM7/17/13
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A P.S. to the above: I've made a few more changes still to the Mafia myth section. Hopefully, the end result will satisfy most readers (though I have no doubt that, just as there are people who believe that Elvis Presley was either abducted by aliens or is working secretly as a bus driver in Clapham Common, a few will continue to believe Terry Robinson's version of events).

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Derek McGovern

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Oct 25, 2013, 10:57:42 PM10/25/13
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I've just added a couple more entries to Mario Lanza: The Basics. One of these deals with tenor Cristian Lanza---the guy who has people in Europe gullibly reporting him as the grandson of Mario Lanza. Since there's so little about the guy in English (he seems to be based for the most part in Germany), with any luck the next time someone performs a search on "Cristian Lanza," s/he'll be directed to this page:



Derek McGovern

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Jul 20, 2013, 9:45:57 PM7/20/13
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I've just added a number of photos to the article Mario Lanza: Myths About the Man, including two rare colour pics of Lanza that a dear friend recently discovered:

Steff

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Jul 27, 2013, 1:32:04 PM7/27/13
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Setting the record straight……..

It is said that Cristian Lanza’s father was the singer Rico Lanza (15 Sept  1945 - 15 Oct 2005), who claimed to be Mario Lanza’s illegitimate son.

The following information on Rico Lanza is based on two German newspaper articles, the one printed in the 1970s, the other one in 2005.

Rico was born in Naples as Federico Camera.

Around 1970, hoping for a better life, Rico and his wife Rita (son Cristian is two years old at this time) decide to leave their residence in Rome and move to Weilerswist (20 kilometers away from Cologne), Germany,  where he works as a truck driver (cement mixer truck).

Rico’s mother, Ary Camera, had already passed away, having left a lot of debts (due to a few stays in hospitals) which Rico hoped to pay off by working in Germany. According to Rico Lanza, his mother had a love affair with Mario Lanza during Mario’s army times in Texas (his name then was Alfred Cocozza!) which resulted in Mario fathering a child, its name:  Federico Camera.

As it happened, one day, Rico was discovered by a local banker in a bar, when just out of fun playing the piano and singing a song ("O sole mio," what else?!!). Rico was signed  for contract by the WDR (a German radio and TV station) to record 4 songs (his first song was titled “Serenata”), and also for a 4-year-contract by the record label Electrola. This brought him to the attention of some opera experts, among them professor Rolf Liebermann, then impresario of the Hamburg State Opera. After an audition Liebermann arranged for him a two-year scholarship of the “Förderkreis of the Hamburger Staatsoper), which was combined with a financial monthly support donated by a patron of the arts from Hamburg.

Liebermann commented in 1971: “We will have him trained at the Hamburg State Opera for one year, and another year probably in America, maybe at the Metropolitan Opera. “

Rico’s voice teacher was Dietger Jacob who said about Rico: “An incredible talent who makes fast progress. A lot can be expected from him.”

By the meantime, Rico had given up his job as a truck driver and earned some extra money by singing in discos or at local events.

Rico’s recordings that I am aware of are (singles 7”):

Solare/Canzone d’amore (Columbia, 1971)                                                                                                                Serenata/Buona sera, Serafina (Columbia, 1971)                                                                                                            Mama Dolores (Columbia/Emi Electrola, 1973)                                                                                                                    Sag Ja zu mir (Speak Softly Love), Theme Song from  “The Godfather” (Columbia/Emi, 1972)                                    Donna Maria/Adios Conchita (Emi, Columbia, 1973)

It appears that Rico indeed studied music for at least one year, and then he disappeared suddenly after having caused some trouble. There was talk about a love affair with a rich business woman and great embezzlement that Rico was accused for. He fled to Rome and would only re-appear in 1982 after the problems had been settled by agreement of all parties involved.

Yet, Rico failed to resume his career and eventually returned to Italy, working in a pizzeria and at a pasta-producing company. In 1996 Rico returned to Weilerswist where all had started years ago. I understand friends supported him financially to enable him to record a CD (yet, I could not find any evidence of the existence of such an album!). Rico appeared at some local TV and radio stations, but due to all the scandals that surrounded him he was rejected by most of the TV/radio stations.  Rico then run a restaurant in Eschweiler (near Aachen) for a short while, which gave him the opportunity to entertain the guests with his singing. Yet, he was only moderately successful.

Apparently, Rico went to South Africa and later would return to Germany to buy a castle in the eastern part of Germany.

Rico Lanza died in 2005 in Lichtenbusch, Belgium, at the age of 60 having suffered a heart attack. He never was able to prove the claim of being Mario’s illegitimate son.

Cristian Lanza is a tenor, born in Rome probably in the late 1960s, and gives concerts, with the main focus on German venues.  He and his management are based in Eschweiler, the place where Rico once run a restaurant. In 2012 Cristian recorded his first album, “Emozione Italiana.” Newspapers and his management always promote his concerts by calling him “Mario Lanza’s grandson.”   Not much information can be found about Cristian’s life, he keeps his age and details about his family background as a complete secret.

Photos of Rico Lanza can be found on the web. Just google his name.  On you-tube you might find some videos too. Incidentally, it appears that the Rico/Cristian Lanza story has nothing to do with the “prostitutes story” that occasionally circulates in the Lanza world.  This story-if it happened at all- only occurred in the late 1950s … Another time, another story …….

Steff

 

Derek McGovern

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Oct 25, 2013, 10:57:13 PM10/25/13
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Hi Steff

Thanks for the info on Rico. Hilarious! I've just corrected the section on Cristian here

It's quite a hike from Marfa, Texas to Naples, Italy, isn't it? :) But, really, Rico should have done his homework better, considering that Lanza was nowhere near Texas around December 1944, when conception of the future imposter would have taken place!

Cheers
Derek   


Derek McGovern

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Aug 3, 2013, 1:10:32 PM8/3/13
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I've been having fun adding a lot of new images to various pages on our main site over the last few days (as well as updating some of the written commentary). Some of these photos will be familiar to many of our members, but quite a few are either relatively rare or are in significantly better quality than usual. These are all over the site, and include a good quality enlargement of the cast photo from The Merry Wives of Windsor. I've also embedded quite a few film clips and trailers to pages such as the Serenade and For the First Time essays, and The Films of Mario Lanza. And speaking of For the First Time, do check out the new screen captures from this film here.

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Oct 6, 2013, 6:40:20 AM10/6/13
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I mentioned earlier today that the sound quality on the primitive 1952 home recording of "Questa Bocca Tua Profumata e Pura" from Giordano’s Madame Sans-Gêne, as featured on our main site, has been improved somewhat.

I've now added three additional recordings to that same page (Concert Performances, Outtakes, and Home Recordings). These are: "Qual occhio al mondo" from Tosca, the second alternate take of the unused "Serenade" from Serenade (how's that for confusion?!), and the "raw" version of the 1959 "Only a Rose" Finale. 

Here's the link:

Derek McGovern

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Oct 24, 2013, 10:24:33 PM10/24/13
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One of the features on our main site that I update on a regular basis is our Mario Lanza Musical Who's Who. This five-page feature contains biographical information about every known musical personality who worked with Lanza, including arrangers, coaches, singers, and 42 (!) conductors. There's some fascinating stuff in here!   

One conductor entry I've just updated is the mini-bio for John R. Metcalf, who conducted Lanza with the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra when he sang in Erie, PA, in 1945. Thanks to Steff, who's been in touch with Steve Metcalf, the conductor's grandson, we now have this delightful anecdote to round out the picture of Lanza's visit to Erie:      

If it's of any interest, when Lanza performed in Erie in 1945, he stayed at my grandfather's home. Family lore has it that Lanza was a very gregarious house guest, who kept everyone up late with stories and conversation.

Also on the same page (3) as the Metcalf entry, I've updated the entry on Rodolfo Pili to include his year of death. (Thanks, Lee Ann, for that very helpful piece of research!) And we hope to have more information soon on the intriguing Signor Pili---and his involvement with Lanza in Philadelphia's Apollo Grand Opera Company. 

Derek McGovern

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Nov 2, 2013, 12:47:21 AM11/2/13
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Over the last few days, I've been adding various newspaper clippings to the Press sections (features, concerts) and ever-growing list of known repertoire that Lanza performed in public. (In fact, a few of the answers to questions in our latest quiz can be found among them.) One of them was this touching editorial from the Milwaukee Sentinel, two days after Lanza's death. 

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Derek McGovern

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Jan 24, 2014, 10:47:48 PM1/24/14
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I've just extended the feature Mario Lanza: The Basics to include two new questions: How did Lanza get his start? and Did he suffer from bipolar disorder? 


My thanks to Armando for suggesting the first question.

Cheers,
Derek 

Derek McGovern

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Jan 26, 2014, 11:52:22 AM1/26/14
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A P.S. to the above: I wasn't entirely happy with the way I addressed the bipolar question, so I've made a few changes:


It's rather long, and probably should have been a separate essay, but it'll have to do for now :)   

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Derek McGovern

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Oct 26, 2014, 12:03:38 AM10/26/14
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Thanks to Steff's research skills, we now have a photo of tenor/conductor Rodolfo Pili, the gentleman who conducted the young Lanza in his operatic performances for the Apollo Grand Opera and YMCA Opera companies:

http://www.mariolanzatenor.com/a-lanza-musical-whos-who-page-three.html [scroll to the bottom of the page for the Pili entry]

It's always nice to see what the various people who played a part in Lanza's musical life looked like, and Pili's photo had long eluded us.

Steff's also located a photo of concert pianist Lawrence Bernhardt---hopefully no relation to the infamous would-be Student Prince director, Curtis Bernhardt!---who accompanied Lanza at a very well-received recital in 1947:

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

Derek McGovern

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May 22, 2016, 9:19:29 AM5/22/16
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Thanks to Steff's amazing research efforts, our main site now features a large number of new press cuttings. Many of these can be found in the various sections of our Lanza and the Press feature, and include some fascinating (and surprisingly positive) reviews of The Great Caruso. There are also newly discovered reviews of concerts from both the Bel Canto Trio tour and the 1951 tour, together with reviews of recordings and general features on Lanza.

Steff's research has also led to a number of new entries (and corrections) in the ever-growing list of All Known Lanza Performances, together with two new entries (Mario Silva and Ted Paxson) in our (now-encyclopedic!) Mario Lanza Musical Who's Who.

Happy reading, and, again, many thanks to Steff!     

Derek McGovern

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Apr 9, 2017, 12:11:04 AM4/9/17
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Steff Walzinger continues to discover more Lanza concerts! I've just added an Allentown (PA) concert from May 1942 to our list of All Known Performances, along with press clippings and a new entry on pianist/conductor Vernon Hammond in our Lanza Musical Who's Who.

What's particularly interesting about this 1942 concert is that we now know that Lanza was singing the Monteverdi aria "Lasciatemi morire" when he was just 21. (The previous earliest confirmed performance by him of that aria had been in 1949.) Thanks to Steff's information, I've also updated the list of all known material that Lanza sang in public:


Derek McGovern

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Feb 3, 2018, 7:32:53 AM2/3/18
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Armando Cesari has very kindly sent me ten rare photos of Lanza with various friends and colleagues, including actor Walter Pidgeon (a prominent early supporter of the tenor), composer-arranger Ennio Morricone, bass Nicola Moscona, Seven Hills of Rome camera operator Franco Delli Colli, and director Roy Rowland. There's also a beautifully captured shot of Lanza in full flight recording with Peter Herman Adler.

They can all be seen here:


Mille grazie, Armando!
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