That Photograph of Mario & Sara is fantastic! Best "Serenade" publicity shot I've seen, so vibrant & full of life. Montiel was an incredibly beautiful woman & her performance in Serenade is full of warmth & personality, I loved watching her.
Sarita was both a stunning looking woman (although she aged badly) and a good actress. There was great chemistry between her and Lanza in Serenade.
New Lanza cd from Sony, 2 discs. Derek Mannering choices...
Mannering is boasting on Rense’s forum that “The folks at Sony and TCM are delighted with the finished product.” If this is so, it’s an alarming state of affairs since it proves, that like Mannering, they know absolutely nothing about singing!
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I never understood the fascination with Loveliest night, it's awful, Mario could have released anything at that point of his career & got a hit, such a shame it was this piece of nonsense.
This will be our new thread for any miscellaneous Lanza-related news or comments. This will include news about other singers, actors, etc who worked with Lanza.
I’ m sure our esteemed host won’t mind if I step in and try to answer what I think are some interesting and intelligent questions.
Particularly pertinent is your questioning of whether Lanza became more distant from his vocal training after he entered the “Hollywood black hole.”
The answer to that is that he did not become more distant from his vocal training, and by that I mean the technique he had acquired primarily from his studies with the great teacher Enrico Rosati, but stylistically between 1950 and 1952 he certainly regressed simply because he was not working in a proper environment with top coaches and musicians.
The career of an operatic singer is a complex one-it has to be nurtured and guided on a daily basis and the operatic repertoire in particular requires special study.
Every detail of the music has to be carefully gone over with the singer, initially by the coach/ repetiteur, and subsequently with the conductor/accompanist, regardless of whether the singer knows the music or not. Matters such as phrasing, tempi, whether to sing forte, pianissimo etc. have to be carefully studied, discussed and worked out, and in the case of a non- native singer performing in a specific language, be it Italian, French, German or whatever, a language coach is also present.
These are the working conditions of just about every opera singer performing in an opera house. They were not the conditions Lanza was working under in Hollywood- in fact, far from them!
The work he did with top musicians between 1950/52 was limited to the preparation for The Great Caruso on which he worked with the conductor Peter Herman Adler. Operatically speaking, given the limited time, most of the singing, though not all, is pretty good. On matters of pronunciation, however, it’s another story. For whatever reason, since Lanza was required to utter only a couple of phrases in Italian, a language coach was engaged for the Italian dialogue, but not for the far more important operatic scores.
Consequently, there are quite a few mispronounced words which, except in the case of musical experts would not be picked up in non -Italian speaking countries, but which stand out if you happen to speak Italian. What’s more, they could easily have been corrected if someone simply pointed out the various mispronunciations to Lanza. Along with Bjorling and a few others, this is partly what Lanza is criticised for in Italy.
So, mispronunciations aside, when you examine Lanza’s career you have to divide it into three distinct periods: 1947/49 consisting of mostly outstanding singing- stylistically sound. 1950/53 extremely erratic with some impressive performances and some truly ghastly lapses of taste. From 1954 to 1959 we have some outstanding singing in Serenade, 1955, abominable recording of the Lanza on Broadway album in 1956 followed by a back to form Lanza with the subsequent Cavalcade of Show Tunes LP. In 1957 there’s mostly good singing from Lanza with the exception of most of the material in the woeful Seven Hills of Rome.
1958 varies from average (Albert Hall recital) to some outstanding singing in For the First Time and the Neapolitan Songs album, Mario.
1959 also produced mixed results. Even though the voice was very heavy due to Lanza’s life style, he still managed some standout singing on the Caruso Favourites LP.
Summing up, what Lanza achieved given his working conditions is nothing short of a miracle and is permanent proof of his tremendous talent. However, even the greatest artists need to work with the best and, in the operatic material in particular, except for sporadic work with the above mentioned Adler and the brilliant coach Giacomo Spadoni, this was not the case for Lanza.
As such, he is most vulnerable and open to criticism precisely in some of the operatic repertoire. But even allowing for this there is sufficient outstanding singing, if carefully selected, to thrill at least this particular listener (and on this we are in complete agreement, Daniella) with the greatest tenor voice I have ever heard.