Miscellaneous Mario Lanza-related posts (2019-2020)

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Derek McGovern

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Feb 2, 2019, 6:13:33 AM2/2/19
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To avoid ending up with multiple discussion threads (since we already have about 500!), 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. 

Cheers,
Derek   
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Joseph Fagan

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Feb 2, 2019, 10:39:01 AM2/2/19
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Forgive my failing memory Derek, But I forget how to get to the "search for messages' function.  I need this more than most.
Thanks again and I am sorry for being such a pain in the butt.

Derek McGovern

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Feb 2, 2019, 11:05:47 AM2/2/19
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Hi Joe: The first thing you need to do is visit the home page of our actual forum:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/mariolanza OR via our main site (Mario Lanza, Tenor) here

On the home page (see below), you'll find "Search for messages" (which I've circled here for you) right above the red "New Topic" button.  Just enter the word or phrase you wish to search. Simple! :) 


Screenshot (236).png





 












Derek McGovern

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Feb 5, 2019, 10:29:35 AM2/5/19
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Just a reminder that this is our discussion thread for general Lanza-related questions or comments that don't require their own separate thread. For example, if you have a simple question or comment that is unlikely to result in multiple replies, here is the place to post it.  

Derek McGovern

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Feb 7, 2019, 10:51:39 PM2/7/19
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For anyone who hasn't seen the recent Sky Arts documentary Legends of Opera: Mario Lanza, it's still available on YouTube (thanks to the efforts of the indefatigable Vince Di Placido):


I'd be interested in knowing what our members think of this doco. While it's clear that some of the talking heads know next to nothing about Lanza, or opera for that matter ("Ernesto" Caruso?!), resulting in numerous factual errors and the occasional odd judgment (for example, the pretty dire Seven Hills of Rome is pronounced "a great film"), overall I found it a very positive assessment of Mario Lanza's life and legacy. 

I just wish whoever chose the musical selections had been more knowledgeable, as, among other things, we have to endure a ridiculously sped-up 1946 Student Prince Serenade (lifted directly from YouTube!), an over-reliance on Lanza's primitive 1940 recordings, and the bleary "On the Street Where You Live" at a very inappropriate point in the doco. On the plus side, however, the comments about Serenade, and the musical clips that accompany it, are spot on. 

jora...@gmail.com

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Feb 8, 2019, 11:38:07 PM2/8/19
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Ths for alerting this to me; it was enjoyable. BUT the main thing I liked about it was I was able to send it to many people I know who do NOT have any Lanza cd's or dvds and thus introduce them to Lanza (maybe a few converts). This is something I should have added to my debate with you re: YOUTUBE. You and I have everything Lanza recorded but most people do not and this is where YOUTUBE can play an important role.

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Steff Walzinger

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Jun 17, 2019, 8:56:35 AM6/17/19
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Hello to all,

 

I am back after a long absence and it is so good to be back!! Thank you to all my Mario Lanza friends who truly cared, Derek McGovern, Armando, Derek Mannering, John Rice, Pam Latham and Ellen Coxon.

I am delighted to see the re-opening of this forum and I am also looking forward to the new Sepia release.

 

As some of you know I recently moved to another flat within the same city, Freiburg. It is in the district where my mother was born and grew up. A stone’s throw away there’s a church, the Lutheran Church (unfortunately desacralized about two years ago but still blessing us with ist wonderful peal of bells). Since it had been demolished in WW II it was re-erected in the early 1950s, and my mother and her friends would be the first to be confirmed there. This was on 22 March 1953. The very same year the German tenor Fritz Wunderlich who was studying at the Freiburg Academy of Music at that time, participated as a soloist in two choir concerts which took place on 28 June and around Christmas respectively.

 

A move implies a lot of changes and you get to know many new people. In our house there’s one neighbour and for some reason his face seemed familiar to me. A few weeks ago I asked him about his profession and he said he is a lawyer. I replied that consequently we knew each other from university days . We studied the law at the same time but we were not friendly. He didn't remember me but then again I looked quite different years back, about 20 years ago. Now we live in the same house! Well, the story goes on:  The other day I asked him about his name and he said his name is MARIO!!!  I told him that many of my friends would be delighted to hear this as I am a Mario Lanza fan to which he replied that his parents were, too! He is not sure if he was named after Mario Lanza, but his parents, like so many other Germany, were Italy fans in the 1950s. He was born in 1958. I told this story to another neighbour, and she mentioned that she remembers her mother very often listening to Mario Lanza on the radio.

The world is a little one, isn’t it? As you can see, my new flat ist he perfect (musical) match!

 

 

On another note, we can add two more musicians to the list of Mario Lanza inspired artists: The Spanish tenor Giacomo Aragall and the US-American songwriter Franke Previte.

 

Giacomo (Jaime) Aragall turned 80 on 6th June. I seem to remember that Plácido Domingo once commented that Aragall was one of the unfortunately underrated singers among tenors.

In a recent interview I found the following (translation from Spanish and Catalan to English) with the help of„google translate“):

 

https://www.plateamagazine.com/entrevistas/6853-jaume-aragall-soy-consciente-de-ser-una-leyenda

 

Estos recuerdos en común abren la caja de pandora y Jaume Aragall se sumerge en los inicios de su carrera. Unos inicios que merecerían una película al estilo El gran Caruso, protagonizada por Mario Lanza.


¡Ah, El gran Caruso! Creo que la vi como ochenta veces esa película. Era maravillosa. Y creo que muchos cantantes de mi generación empezaron a cantar por esa película.


All these memories open Pandora's box and Jaume Aragall delves into the beginnings of his career. These are beginnings that would be suited as a film in the style of The Great Caruso starring Mario Lanza.

 

Ah, The great Caruso! I think I saw this movie about eighty times. It was wonderful. And I think many singers of my generation started singing because of that movie.

 

 

There had already been mention of Mario Lanza in two interviews back in 2014:

 

https://www.nuvol.com/entrevistes/jaume-aragall-en-lestudi-de-la-veu-vaig-trobar-hi-diferencia/

 

Ens descriu escenaris de joventut en què l’estudi i el treball es creuaven sovint amb els somnis, amb emular els grans cantants de la lírica, amb convertir-se en un nou Caruso. «Caruso és una institució de l’òpera, és el cantant que més ha quedat a la Història com a tenor. Però també ho va ser la història del Caruso que va interpretar Mario Lanza l’any 1952. Va ser una revolució, perquè va portar l’afició per l’òpera a molta gent que la desconeixia. A mi m’agradava molt aquella pel·lícula, una miqueta a l’estil de Hollywood, però amb la veu impressionant del Mario Lanza. Allò va ser una cosa gran.»

 

He describes scenes of his youth in which study and work often crossed with dreams, with emulating the great lyrical singers, with becoming a new Caruso. «Caruso is an institution of opera, he is the singer who has most remained in history as a tenor. But it was also the story of Caruso played by Mario Lanza in 1952. It was a revolution because he brought the hobby/interest of/in opera to many people who were not familiar with it. I really liked that movie, somewhat in the Hollywood style, but with the awesome voice of Mario Lanza. That was a big thing. "

 

 

http://www.gbopera.it/2014/06/intervista-al-tenore-giacomo-aragall/

 

Mi racconti come ti sei avvicinato al canto?
Undicenne, quando andavo a scuola, un sacerdote  musicista mi volle come cantore nel coro della chiesa e vi rimasi fino a quindici anni. A diciotto la voglia di diventare un cantante era forte, soprattutto dopo aver visto un film con Mario Lanza. Da quel momento desiderai anche cantare per gli altri.

 

Can you tell me how you approached singing?

At the age of eleven, when I went to school, a musician priest wanted me as a singer in the church choir and I stayed there until I was fifteen. At eighteen the desire to become a singer was strong, especially after seeing a film with Mario Lanza. From that moment I also wished to sing for others.

 

 


https://ventsmagazine.com/2019/06/14/oscar-winning-songwriter-franke-previte-reflects-on-his-years-in-the-music-business-including-his-iconic-music-for-dirty-dancing-and-looks-ahead-to-a-busy-2019/


Oscar Winning Songwriter Franke Previte Reflects on His Years in the Music Business (Including His Iconic Music for “Dirty Dancing”) and Looks Ahead to a Busy 2019“

 

Vents Magazine: Getting the ball rolling Franke, would it be safe to say that a career for you in music was a foregone conclusion? I note that your father was an opera singer.

 

Franke Previte: Yes he was…My mom and dad met taking voice lessons from the same vocal coach and so I guess I’m their duet! That was actually my speech at the Academy Awards: “I want to thank my mom and dad for the best duet of all.”When I was four years old I remember my dad rehearsing all of the time in the house because he would sing with these different operas. So my mom brought me down to Convention Hall down in Asbury Park (New Jersey) and I remember sitting on her lap and my dad getting ready to hit the big high note. I stood up on her lap and I belted the note out before my father could hit it and the place went crazy! Of course my father stops the show and he looks at the audience and he goes, “Ladies and gentleman, my son.” So I really consider that my first gig.

 

Vents Magazine: Growing up, who were some of your musical influences?

 

Franke Previte: It’s interesting because, again, in my family there were all of these Italian notes because of the opera thing. So I was hearing my father listen to Caruso and Mario Lanza and these songs like Be My Love…I was ten or eleven years old and I was trying to find the blue notes, I’m trying to find the notes that weren’t these long Italian notes. So I put my own group together, me and four black guys, and then we started a group called Franke Luv and the Intruders.

 

 

On a last note regarding Mario Lanza I want to call the attention of our German speaking Mario Lanza fans to a new DVD release of „Der Sänger von Capri/Serenade einer großen Liebe,“ on 21st June 2019 by „Filmjuwelen.“ Filmjuwelen“ is specialised in publishing classic movies and it is nice to see that Mario’s last film is now included into their extensive collection.

 

https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/movie/detail/-/art/der-saenger-von-capri-serenade-einer-grossen-liebe/hnum/8987332?iampartner=spon6&awc=150&awa=1263&gclid=Cj0KCQjw9JzoBRDjARIsAGcdIDVPsucy8Gk1SYG_EeL54wdzbiEx-Vc6BWPz5wjH9lziJFg8dlhUqeAaArXuEALw_wcB

 

 

On a very last note for now, you may already have heard that there’s a new album of mezzo soprano Elina Garanca titled „Sol y vida.“ I understand it is her first non classical album.

„… the famous mezzo soprano presents popular Neapolitan songs as well as soulful jewels from the Latin American repertoire.“

 

Among the songs are quite a few from Mario Lanza’s repertoire: „Granada,“ „Core n’grato,“ „Torna a Surriento,“ „Non ti scordar di me,“ „Musica proibita,“ „Voce 'e notte,“ „Marechiare“ and „T’estimo“ (I Love Thee).

It is unusual to have songs that rather belong to the male repertoire interpreted by a female singer, and I have to admit it takes a little getting used to it.

 

 

Steff

 

Derek McGovern

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Jun 17, 2019, 9:16:23 AM6/17/19
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Terrific research, Steff!

I was especially pleased to read the various astute comments by Giacomo Aragall, a fine (and, yes, underrated) tenor with obviously great taste in singers! :) 

When you get a chance, please drop me a line privately with your address, as I'd love to send you a "welcome back" gift.

Cheers,
Derek


Armando

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Jun 18, 2019, 6:14:06 PM6/18/19
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Welcome back, Steff, and thank you for your latest contributions! 

Armando 

Savage

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Jun 26, 2019, 8:47:56 PM6/26/19
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Steff, welcome back to the forum.  I was happy to read your Aragall quotes. He was indeed underrated and he had a seamless, soaring tenor voice as well as great stage presence.  Back in 1966, when he was still quite young, I heard him twice as Rodolfo and once as the Duke of Mantua. The voice was unforgettable. His movement on the stage was enhanced by the fact that he was a gymnast.

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 6, 2019, 5:52:27 AM7/6/19
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Hi there,
We all know that Mario Lanza was Luciano Pavarotti's childhood idol. 
His former home in Modena, Italy, is a museum and here's an article about it just published yesterday:


"This eclectic collection of personal belongings remain as they were, offering a rare insight into the man himself: The old music box, library of scores and books (including an annotated score of Lucia di Lammermoor and a biography of his idol, Mario Lanza); the burr walnut Steinway where he worked with a pianist and gave free lessons to students; photos with Bono and the ‘other two’ tenors."

Now it is up to you to speculate which of the leading Mario Lanza biographies is on display there.
Anybody knows? Anybody from Modena or close by?

Steff

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 6, 2019, 5:58:02 AM7/6/19
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Hi Savage,
I think Aragall was just too modest a singer to get the acknowledgment he actually deserved. A truly great singer which all the you-tube videos prove. I saw him at the Arena di Verona, on 8 August 1988, participating in a concert alongside many other opera stars. 
Steff

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 7, 2019, 7:19:47 PM7/7/19
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It was just reported on the news that the well-known and successful German film producer Arthur "Atze" Brauner has passed away. On 1st August he would have turned 101 years. 

In the late 1950s Brauner had plans to make a film with Mario Lanza (probably: "Granada" or "That's My Man.").

Some of you might remember that the movie "For the First Time" was partly filmed at the C.C.C. Studios, Berlin, of which Brauner was the founder and owner. Brauner mentioned his meeting with Mario in Rome (negotiations for the upcoming film project) in one of his books but his memories regarding Mario's personality and behaviour were not very flattering (sensationalism sells better!) However, Brauner, without doubt, appreciated Mario Lanza as an artist and singer.


I did the following translation from his book back in 2013:

From: "Mich gibt's nur einmal - Rückblende eines Lebens" by Arthur Brauner (Germany, 1976)
           ("There's Only One of Me - Flashback of a Life")

One of my 114 not realized screenplays was "Granada." "Granada” was a very popular song at that time, topping the hit lists of the disc jockeys for months, and it still is an evergreen nowadays. Mario Lanza wanted to have his great comeback with "Granada."  
 
Lanza was a tenor with an incredible vocal power. Experts regarded him equal to Enrico Caruso and Benjamino Gigli. Lanza was a glowing admirer of Caruso. Alfred Arnold Cocozza, which was his real name, grew up in the Italian quarter of Philadelphia, USA. Each cent he got hold of, he invested in Caruso records.  He played Caruso's aria "Recondita armonia" from “Tosca” 27 times in a row so as to adopt his voice to his great idol. He never learned singing by means of a real musical education. 
 
Caruso indirectly helped Mario Lanza to worldwide fame. Lanza played the title role in the movie "The Great Caruso." After one year Metro-Goldwyn Mayer had earned millions. Lanza only had earned the comparably ridiculous sum of only $ 100,000, but he earned one million a year due to his recordings. 
 
Producers and heads of record companies flocked around him. The public got ecstatic wherever he appeared, something that had never happened before. Women left their husbands and followed him from one town to another. The world was his, but he destroyed his voice, his personality and eventually he destroyed himself. He literarily drank and ate himself to death. The way he undertook big efforts again and again to fight his demons, had something tragic and discharges him from any principles that civil moral dictates us. 
 
At the time I visited him in Rome to discuss "Granada” his price within the showbiz market had reached rock-bottom. He was heavily indebted. MGM had sued him for 13,500,000 Dollar compensation as he had left the production of "The Student Prince" without justifying this. His attempts to make recordings for RCA failed because his voice broke down. His commitment at the "New Frontier Hotel" in Las Vegas for which he was to get 50,000 Dollar a week ended with a scandal before it had even started. Lanza was too drunk to be able to perform. 
 
Now he was in Rome, persecuted by his enemies, abandoned by his few friends. He was ostracized and outcast.  
 
"And why are you here," he asked me full of mistrust when we first met at the "Cavalieri Hilton” to discuss the film. 
 
"I am here because I believe in you." 
 
 "Despite all the things they are telling about me?"  
 
"Despite everything."  
 
"I can only congratulate you to this, Signor Brauner," and he did it in such a strong way that my hand still hurt after two days. He had the power of a bull. 
 
"Soon I will be the greatest again!" He jumped up and belted out "Graaa-naaa-daa" which made the tourists in the hotel lobby gathering together excitedly. 
 
"And now," he said contentedly, "we are going to have a little snack.  
 
He ordered a bottle of Taittinger brut and a dish of caviar. The waiter served a hundred gram caviar tin, and Lanza asked him if he thought he was a little bird. He wanted to have a dish of caviar which actually meant a kilo. The kilo tin was served, and he took a big silver spoon and bolted down the little black sturgeon eggs as if it just was porridge. A second bottle of champagne followed to wash the caviar down, and he remarked in passing:  
 
"We had agreed upon a fee of 200,000 Dollar on the phone, Signor Brauner." 
 
"100,000 Dollar and a percentage of profit up to a total of not more than 100,000," I corrected him and complemented myself of having recorded our telephone conversation.  
 
"That's quite a difference. Incidentally, here's the deposit." 
 
He put the 50,000 cheque in his jacket pocket just as if it was an expired ticket, and ordered another kilo of Malossol and another bottle of champagne. We talked about Caterina Valente who was to co-star him, about the songs he was to sing with her, and about the costumes. 
 
Suddenly he stood up. 
 
"Well, and now you come with me to my home. My wife is waiting for us with the dinner." 
 
"Dinner," I asked stunned, looking at the two empty kilo-tins of Malossol caviar. 
 
"Yes," he said, "no human being can be satisfied with this here." 
 
He passes through the hotel lobby, and his hand-stitched Kothurn boots which he always gets from New York, are creaking. They have extra high soles which make him look taller than his actual 1.70 meters. 
 
Outside there's a Cadillac as big as a touring bus. It is upholstered with tiger skin, and the dashboard is made of 14-carat gold. I admire everything duly. He's searching something in the glove box, is handing something over to me. It is a golden wristwatch with the inscription "With Love from Mario" During his great times he used to hand them out among the fans, like a carnival prince does with caramel sweets. 
 
We are sitting in the boudoir of his villa. Mario Lanza’s voice is ringing out from half a dozen of stereo loudspeakers. Puccini, Verdi, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Rossini, a chain of pearls of great Italian arias, so fantastic and enrapturing, sung by this phenomenal voice which can make your soul melt away. 
 
However, I am not here because of my soul. I am shouting:  
 
"It is too loud to make business!" 
 
"Don't you like my voice," he shouts back.  
 
I am helplessly shrugging my shoulders. What a question! Why else would I be here for? He is pressing a button, the loudspeakers are silent. He gets three big wineglasses, so-called “Prunkrömer," and puts them onto the mantelpiece.  
 
“Now I am going to show you what this voice is able to do.” 
 
He concentrates, takes a deep breath and 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 eventually are shattering. The pieces of broken glass are falling to the ground.  I look at him, I am mesmerized.  
 
"That's nothing," he dismisses, "That's nothing at all. Ask Frank Sinatra, I shattered his mirror with my singing!" 
 
Signora Betty Lanza asks us to come to dinner. There's marble all around, there are crystal mirrors, frescos at the ceiling, oil paintings and tapestries. This house is not a villa, it is a castle. Two liveried servants are serving. Antipasti in big bowls, mixed salad, olives, peperoni, filled paprika, Mortadella, Parma ham, pickled eel, escargots, frog legs and scampi. The servants are putting a washbowl of spaghetti on the table. Lanza pours some meat sauce and Parmesan cheese over them. He takes some Ravioli and drinks a full bodied Brolio. Then he takes Lasagne which he had not tasted yet. 
 
Then comes a look of reproach towards Betty. 
 
"Momentino, bambino, caro mio, take some of the Canneloni."  
 
He takes some Canneloni, then some turbot dripping of oil. This needs white bread. He splits up one of the arm-long breads and dips the bread into the oily sauce. 
 
"Eat, Signor Brauner, you have to eat, you are too thin. It's not good for a producer to be thin. How do you want to get credit, if you have no belly?”  
 
He is laughing s out loud, wiping his greasy mouth. His forehead is sweating, his face is  reddened. 
 
My God, how much this man can eat! Actually he should not do that. That’s how it is written in the contract: Signor Lanza commits by signature to reduce his weight from 120 kilogram to a maximum of 100 kilogram up to the start of shooting on October 10, 1959. I tell him this while Vitello alla Milanese and Saltimbocca alla Romana are being served. 
 
He takes off the table napkin which he has knotted together behind his ears. 
 
“Do you know how much weight I had to reduce when we did “Because You’re Mine” (“Mein Herz singt nur für Dich”)? Half a centner. So I went to Ginger Rogers out there in Oregon who had a farm. I lived on tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs, and every morning I was jogging 800 metres, and in no time at all I got rid of the half centner.”  
 
I knew all those stories. And I also knew that someone from MGM always would have been sitting on the garden fence, armed with a rimfire rifle, and whenever Mario had been about to move slower, he would give him a warning shot. During his first film “That Midnight Kiss” (“Ein Kuss um Mitternacht”) they had weighted him like a prize bull each morning before starting the shooting. The MGM people made notes of his weight as if it was a stock market price. They would be in buoyant sprits when the weight had dropped, and completely down when it would start to rise again. 
 
“Signor Brauner,” he says and takes a languishing look at his Panettone, a creamy puff with raisins and syruped fruits, “Signor Brauner, do you actually know what you are sitting on?” 
 
 “On a chair, I suppose,” I reply and convince myself that it really is just a chair. 
 
“Mussolini sat on this chair, Benito Mussolini.” He is roaring with laughter, slapping his hands on his legs and backslapping me. 
 
 “This house belonged to Marshall Badoglio who was a close friend of the Duce.” 
 
I uneasily move back and forth. I just don’t like dictators.  
 
“It could have been worse,” he comforts me, “Hitler for example,” had he been sitting here…..” 
 
Once again, Mario Lanza has disappeared. He now disappears more often. I think someone like him who drinks so much, certainly has to…., well, has to call upon nature.  
 
As I am going to wash my hands I see him in another room, standing in front of a closet. He’s drinking from a big bottle of Whiskey. I even can see the label. It’s “Old Granddad, “a Bourbon which is his favorite brand. Around midnight Mario Lanza is dead drunk. He starts weeping, calls me “Arturo” and begins pouring out his heart to me. 
 
He complains bitterly about everybody and everything. On the table there are the leftovers of a gigantic meal. Never in my life have I seen someone eating so much. He has consumed a complete delicatessen shop. At the table, on the spot where he was sitting, there are the gnawed off bones of 36 chicken drumsticks left! 

 Again and again I am remembered that he is indentured to lose 20 kilograms. 
 
 “On October 10 we want to start in the studios. Only 8 weeks are left until then. How do you intend to manage that, Signor Lanza? Tell me how,” I ask him, and slowly but surely I start having doubts.  
 
The fate of my film depends on his waist circumference. It’s laughable, but I am in no laughing mood. He babbles something like “bagatello,” and continues to pity himself. 
 
“I have always been exploited; All my life; especially by the gangsters from Metro-GoldwynMayer. By producers, by people like you, Arturo, exactly this kind of people!  They all should be killed.” He takes one of the big silver forks and with elemental force bends it to a staple. 
 
Indeed Mario Lanza had been a bonanza for MGM. His four films brought in 40 million Dollars which was a box office record! When he was fired by the big bosses because he drank too much and did not work enough, they sued him. Mario shows me the plaint and is mightily amused. He says: 
 
 “Apart from the thirteen millions and a half they claim another 763,423.24 Dollar in addition. And now I am wondering what the 24 Cents are for.”  
 
With fiendish joy he tells me that after being fired he raced around Hollywood in the night, smashing his enemies’ windows, demolishing their mailboxes or hanging out their garden gates. 
 
Eventually, at one o’clock in the morning, the phone is ringing. He picks up the phone; he listens, then puts his hand on the mouthpiece and says: 
 
 “That’s the hospital. There’s a child who has leukemia, she won’t live long. The little one wishes me to sing her a song. Her name is Marcellina.”  
 
He stands up and sings the Brahms lullaby through the phone. He sings it in German. 
 
 “Guten Abend, gute Nacht, mit Rosen bedacht, mit Näglein besteckt, schlupf unter die Deck. Morgen früh, wenn Gott will, wirst Du wieder geweckt. Guten Abend, gute Nacht, von Englein bewacht…“ 
 
Despite his being drunk he sings it with endless tenderness. That’s a different Lanza, a man, who adores children, who helps the poor and who is a devoted father. 
 
I think it is at about three in the morning, when I notice that I am on my own. I had been dozed off in my chair for a little moment. I pass through the upper hall. The door to one of the rooms is wide open. I see Mario lying on the floor. His wife is lying on the bed. A record is spinning on the turntable. The needle has gotten stuck on one spot “Ce.le.ste Aiii.., Aiii…,Aiii….”  Mario’s voice is singing from the record.  
 
In mid-October we were ready to go on the set with Granada. The screenplay by Ben Hecht was completed. The contract with Caterina Valente was settled. Apart from the title song I had purchased a series of other superb songs, among them “Malaguena” and “Andalusia”, two real hit songs. 
 
The complete staff was engaged. Good news came from Mario: “I am dropping pounds, dear Arturo,” he wrote me in German language from his diet clinic to which he had gone. I am dropping and am only eating grasses like a cow. I will come to you and look like a fir tree. I will make it, as always.” 
 
In the night of October 7 I was handed over a telegram at my Spandau CCC office: It came from the clinic near Rome and contained only one sentence: “Mario Lanza has passed away.” Later on they declared that phlebitis and a blood clot in a coronary artery had been the cause of death. The “lion,” as he had called himself, was gone. This time, he hadn’t made it. 
 
Five months later his wife followed him. It was supposed that she had committed suicide. Betty Lanza, née Hicks from Chicago, also had drunk in her last years. Consequently, she hadn’t been able to be the wife for him that he would have needed. 
 
Steff

Arthur Brauner with his wife Maria.JPG

Derek McGovern

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Jul 11, 2019, 7:13:54 AM7/11/19
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A Belgian Lanza fan emailed me a few days ago to advise that there is finally a Blu-ray edition of one of Mario's films:

71OiZgsUx2L._SX385_.jpg




























This For the First Time Blu-ray is available in both English and German audio, and is "B" region (for Europe), so anyone outside of Europe would presumably need a multi-region player to watch it.  

It's pricey at 13 British pounds from Amazon.co.uk or 16,99 Euros from the German Amazon, and who knows if it's an official release with superior Blu-ray quality. But if anyone is tempted to buy it, please do share your thoughts on it here. In the meantime, I'll post any feedback that I receive.

Barnabas Nemeth

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Jul 11, 2019, 11:21:04 AM7/11/19
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Steff Walzinger

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Jul 15, 2019, 7:57:53 AM7/15/19
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A good idea! LOL...Steff

Life's Like That.JPG

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 28, 2019, 10:13:02 AM7/28/19
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Hi Derek,


I only ordered the 2019 DVD release of „Der Sänger von Capri“/“Serenade einer großen Liebe“ and I was mentioning the new release in my post from 17th June 2019 on this thread. I think the film is in a good quality, but as far as I can judge I don’t see any improvement. There’s no indication of any remastering regarding sound or picture quality. Nevertheless, I noticed that the film must have been edited at some point. Think of the last scene of the film, a scene that is almost a prediction of what would happen one year later. Mario as Radames, in the „Aida“ triumphal march scene, turns around. He faces away from the audience – as if he was making his farewell. Then the curtain closes. This, to me, retrospectively, appears kind of scary knowing that Mario passed away only one year later. Well, to make a long story short, this grand final of the film is cut out on the DVD! The DVD ends with the close up of Mario – before he turns around.  I don’t know if this has to do with time limitations, but it is strange and kind of absurd.


As for the layout I have to say that I was surprised how much they cared. The DVD comes in a sleeve and is also accompanied by a several pages long booklet. It starts with „the making of,“ then comes the plot and finally the full cast and crew (even the costume designer couple Bücken!) is listed giving some information about their works (in which other productions they worked in). The booklet is very pleasing, especially thanks to several big sized pictures (it is noticeable that the German actress Johanna von Koczian got more credit here than Zsa Zsa Gabor!).


The„Filmjuwelen“/„Fernsehjuwelen“-company’s aim is to preserve old film classics, national and international, but with the focus on German productions. On their website they explicitly mention that they own the rights for the releases, which makes it absolutely clear that these are no bootlegs:

„Die Fernsehjuwelen GmbH hält Verwertungsrechte an mehreren tausend Titeln der Film- und Fernsehgeschichte (darunter Spielfilme, Mehrteiler, Dokus und TV-Serien) aus dem Bestand der ehemaligen Kirch-Gruppe, mit exklusivem Zugang zu einer der größten Filmbibliotheken der Welt.“ (The Fernsehjuwelen GmbH (limited) holds he exploitation rights of several titles from movie and TV history (films, series, documentaries and TV series) originating from the stock (right term?)  of the former Kirch Media Group, with an exclusive access to one of the largest film libraries in the world.)


Steff

Filmjuwelen Release, 2019, Serenade einer großen Liebe.JPG
Final scene from the Film Juwelen Release, 2019.JPG

Derek McGovern

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Aug 1, 2019, 8:33:02 PM8/1/19
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Many thanks for your thoughts on the DVD, Steff. 

I've since seen the Blu-ray disc put out by the same company, and, yes, the same thing occurs at the end. There's also a bit of footage missing in the dressing room scene just before "Vesti la giubba." Professor Ruder comes to talk about Christa's operation, warns against it, and---poof!---the film skips and he's gone :)

But the amount of detail in the Blu-ray is amazing to behold, even if I find Mario a bit washed out in a few places (the Come Prima scene, the Vesti scene, etc), compared with the earlier American DVD. I would dearly love to see The Great Caruso, Because You're Mine (the grainiest of the Warner Bros DVD releases) and Serenade released by this same company on Blu-ray.    

Cheers,
Derek
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Steff Walzinger

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Aug 28, 2019, 11:55:21 AM8/28/19
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 An interesting article on Caruso:

"As Hip as Elvis: Caruso the Pop Idol"


Happy reading!

Steff

Palmarola2012

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Aug 28, 2019, 12:33:13 PM8/28/19
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Steff. Thanks for the interesting article. The TIME magazine article about Mario and spoke about his popularity with young people at the time which was comparable to rock stars.

Emilio

Irina Kuzmishina

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Dec 20, 2019, 12:45:18 AM12/20/19
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Hi, everybody! I have a question about Maria, Mario's mother. The inscription on her grave reads dates 1905 - 1970, many biographers also write that her birthday was June 1, 1905, while the inscription in the Italian registration book in Abruzzo is June 1, 1902. It is also known that Ellisa Lanza joined her husband in the USA with a baby-daughter Maria in 1903. What does this all mean? How come that on Maria's grave the date of birth is 1905?

Derek McGovern

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Dec 21, 2019, 7:52:24 AM12/21/19
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Hi Irina: Even as a kid, the claim that Maria had been born in 1905 made no sense to me, since it would have made it impossible for her to be legally married prior to Mario's birth. I'm also pretty sure the legal age of consent was at least 16 in the state of Pennsylvania in the 1920s (in fact, it was 18 in that state for much of the 20th century).

I don't know if Maria herself ever claimed in later years that she had been born as late as 1905---or that she was 16 at the time of his birth (which of course would have implied that she was born in 1904)---but certainly when she died in July 1970 it was incorrectly reported by the New York Times and other papers that she was 65 years old. In any event, she definitely lied about her age. In a 1965 interview with Noreen Nash (later to become James Whitmore's third wife), Maria claimed that she'd married at 16, and that Mario had been born "little over a year later." That definitely wasn't true! But it doesn't explain, of course, how her grave could show the wrong birth year.

Perhaps the fact that her birth was registered in Italy, coupled with the fact that Maria (like Mario!) had a habit of lying about her age, made it possible for the mix-up to happen on her gravestone.         

Irina Kuzmishina

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Dec 21, 2019, 8:34:44 AM12/21/19
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Hi, Derek! Thank you for your reply! I found information that Maria Lanza really was lying about her age. On the page about her bural place was added a photo of the original inscription in the Italian registration book which reeds the date June 1 1902! Here is the link of this page. The photo is published in the rubric "photos"
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/2517/maria-cocozza/photo

kuzmishinairina

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Dec 21, 2019, 8:48:49 AM12/21/19
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Here is a photo of the registration book in which Maria Lanza's birth date is June1, 1902. So, she definitely somehow managed to change it late for 1905, which is a fake.  
     This information was added on November 29, 2018 by
 Cindy G.C. to the page about Maria Lanza's burial place.



Отправлено с устройства Samsung.


-------- Исходное сообщение --------
От: Derek McGovern <derek.m...@gmail.com>
Дата: 21.12.2019 15:52 (GMT+03:00)
Кому: "Mario Lanza, Tenor" <mario...@googlegroups.com>
Тема: [Mario Lanza] Re: Miscellaneous Mario Lanza-related posts (2019)

Hi Irina: Even as a kid, the claim that Maria had been born in 1905 made no sense to me, since it would have made it impossible for her to be legally married prior to Mario's birth. I'm also pretty sure the legal age of consent was at least 16 in the state of Pennsylvania in the 1920s (in fact, it was 18 in that state for much of the 20th century).

I don't know if Maria herself ever claimed in later years that she had been born as late as 1905---or that she was 16 at the time of his birth (which of course would have implied that she was born in 1904)---but certainly when she died in July 1970 it was incorrectly reported by the New York Times and other papers that she was 65 years old. But she definitely lied about her age. In a 1965 interview with Noreen Nash (later to become James Whitmore's third wife), Maria claimed that she'd married at 16, and that Mario had been born "little over a year later." That definitely wasn't true! But it doesn't explain, of course, how her grave could show the wrong birth year.

Perhaps the fact that her birth was registered in Italy, coupled with the fact that Maria (like Mario!) had a habit of lying about her age, made it possible for the mix-up to happen on her gravestone.         

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Victoria Bigelow

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Jan 1, 2020, 11:28:30 PM1/1/20
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Maria Lanza Cocozza was born June 1, 1901. She was 8 in April 1910 and 18 in January 1920 (Per the 1910 and 1920 (PA) Federal Census). The census takers do make mistakes, but not usually two in a row. 

Vicki

On Sat, Dec 21, 2019 at 7:52 AM Derek McGovern <derek.m...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi Irina: Even as a kid, the claim that Maria had been born in 1905 made no sense to me, since it would have made it impossible for her to be legally married prior to Mario's birth. I'm also pretty sure the legal age of consent was at least 16 in the state of Pennsylvania in the 1920s (in fact, it was 18 in that state for much of the 20th century).

I don't know if Maria herself ever claimed in later years that she had been born as late as 1905---or that she was 16 at the time of his birth (which of course would have implied that she was born in 1904)---but certainly when she died in July 1970 it was incorrectly reported by the New York Times and other papers that she was 65 years old. But she definitely lied about her age. In a 1965 interview with Noreen Nash (later to become James Whitmore's third wife), Maria claimed that she'd married at 16, and that Mario had been born "little over a year later." That definitely wasn't true! But it doesn't explain, of course, how her grave could show the wrong birth year.

Perhaps the fact that her birth was registered in Italy, coupled with the fact that Maria (like Mario!) had a habit of lying about her age, made it possible for the mix-up to happen on her gravestone.         

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Victoria Bigelow

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Jan 1, 2020, 11:35:33 PM1/1/20
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I stand corrected

Here is her birth record

Name: Maria Cristina Lanza
Event Type: Birth
Event Date: 01 Jun 1902
Event Place: Tocco da Casauria, Pescara, Italy
Gender: Female
Father's Name: Salvatore Lanza
Mother's Name: Maria Elisena Di Giulio

Digital Folder Number: 007010350
Image Number: 00046

Citing this Record
"Italia, Pescara, Stato Civile (Archivio di Stato), 1809-1929," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV9N-66L1 : 15 March 2018), Maria Elisena Di Giulio in entry for Maria Cristina Lanza, 01 Jun 1902; citing Birth, Tocco da Casauria, Pescara, Italy, certificate , Archivio di Stato di Pescara (Pescara State Archives), Italy.

Irina Kuzmishina

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Jan 2, 2020, 7:25:50 AM1/2/20
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Hi, Victoria! This is exactly what I've written in my previous msg. Besides there's a photo of the page of the Italian registration book with Maria's birth registration which reads: June 1, 1902.

Victoria Bigelow

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Jan 2, 2020, 7:32:48 AM1/2/20
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I chose to copy and paste because I wasn't sure whether attachments would work. My bad. 

Irina Kuzmishina

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Jan 2, 2020, 9:53:07 AM1/2/20
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It's OK! Anyway, now we know for sure what is what! And that Mario was born when his mother was 18 & a half years old.

Steff Walzinger

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Jan 12, 2020, 1:55:47 PM1/12/20
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Hello to all,

Here's an excerpt from the book "Ennio Morricone in His Own Words." The book was originally published in Italian under the title "Ennio Morricone - Inseguendo quel suono - La mia musica, la mia vita" (2016), and the English version was published last year. 

Steff
Ennio Morricone in His Own Words, English Version, 2019, Excerpt, Mario Lanza, Franco Ferrara.JPG

Derek McGovern

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Jan 13, 2020, 4:12:29 AM1/13/20
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Thanks for sharing the English translation of this passage from the Morricone book, Steff.

I'd read the original in Italian a couple of years back, and I feel (as I did then) that it's a shame Morricone didn't discuss the quality of Mario's voice (beyond describing it as very powerful) and his actual interpretations of the twelve Neapolitan songs. What a wasted opportunity given that he was actually there in the studio for this important album!

I assume the song being described here that caused all the fuss was Funiculi' Funicula', on which Mario is off-key on his entry. (That was also one of the songs that Morricone arranged, and was arguably his one sub-par contribution.) But what of all the great renditions from those sessions? As conductor Franco Ferrara recalled to Armando, Mario displayed not only "a Caruso-type voice," but also a great musicality. One would think that Morricone would have been thrilled to hear his arrangements of things like "Voce 'e Notte" and "Passione" interpreted so beautifully!  

Morricone should also have acknowledged that Ferrara and Lanza had only gone over the songs together a couple of times before meeting in the studio. Little wonder, then, that not everything about their sessions would be a triumph---and yet it's amazing that so much did turn out brilliantly in spite of the limited rehearsal time.

Cheers,
Derek  

Steff Walzinger

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Jan 13, 2020, 6:06:10 AM1/13/20
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Hi Derek,

No surprise if it were "Funiculi, Funicula." This song, or at least its arrangement was an absolute "foreign matter," not matching the other songs at all (I know I am not alone with this opinion!). Especially wrongly placed at the beginning of the album "Mario - Lanza at His Best."  I love this album but whenever I play it I am inclined to skip this song. The chorus is just too "heavy,"  to put it mildly. Without this song the album would be so much more harmonious.

Steff

Derek McGovern

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Jan 13, 2020, 9:02:36 AM1/13/20
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Hi Steff: The problem with the unusual arrangement of "Funiculi' Funicula'" is that it makes it difficult for the singer, who's basically left to his own devices, to begin it bang on pitch. I'm not surprised Mario went sharp on his entry!


Barnabas Nemeth

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Jan 13, 2020, 9:06:34 AM1/13/20
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I have done the same way for decades.

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Steff Walzinger

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Jul 1, 2020, 5:22:06 AM7/1/20
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Hello to All,


As one of the managers of this forum may I kindly ask you not to create new threads for every Lanza or not-Lanza related question or comment, but instead use the existing threads, which we have in abundance here on this forum and which cover almost every topic.

 

If you are searching a topic, please use the search box on top of the forum. Alternatively, for topics which do not fit in any category, or for general questions or comments (such as „Did Mario meet Mr./Mrs. XY?“ or „Did Mario sing this or that song?“), which, based on experience, do not launch extended discussion, please use the

 

„Miscellaneous Lanza-related posts (2019-2020)“ thread

 

https://www.mariolanzatenor.com/forum.html?place=msg%2Fmariolanza%2Fr3k-HEkVeOE%2Fv_OukdNCFQAJ

 

or

 

the „Off-topic chat thread (2019-2020) respectively (for non-Lanza posts):


https://www.mariolanzatenor.com/forum.html?place=msg%2Fmariolanza%2FOF5XhRd-540%2FPbNQZwpDFQAJ


 

Please help to keep the forum overseeable.

 

Thank you for your understanding, and please continue to keep the forum going!

 

Steff

 



Steff Walzinger

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Jul 6, 2020, 6:18:33 AM7/6/20
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Last night I watched a German documentary (2018) on ARTE TV about Zsa Zsa Gabor, titled „Zsa Zsa Gabor, Königin des roten Teppichs“ (Zsa Zsa Gabor, Queen of the Red Carpet) – Lona media for rbb & SWR.

 

Actually, I did not expect any mention of Mario Lanza, so I was surprised all the more that they showed a movie poster and excerpts from the film „For the First Time“ (“Serenade einer großen Liebe“ – the sequences in excellent picture quality!).

Not many film clippings were shown in this 53 minutes documentary - as far as I remember, apart from „FTFT,“ only scenes from „Moulin Rouge“ and Lili.“

I clipped the part of the documentary which is about „For the First Time“ and tried to attach it to my post which unfortunately failed (it says "server denied") I hope I can add it at a later time.

 

For those of you who have access to ARTE (Germany, France), here’s the link to the documentary (it is available until 11 July):

 

https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/077370-000-A/zsa-zsa-gabor-koenigin-des-roten-teppichs/

 

Steff

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 10, 2020, 5:53:33 AM7/10/20
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Hello to all,

Here we go:

Here's the link to the short sequence of the Zsa Zsa Gabor documentary, which I was talking about in my previous post.
Vince di Placido kindly uploaded it to you-tube:


Thank you so much Vince, for making this possible!

Steff

Steff Walzinger

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Jul 16, 2020, 11:29:44 AM7/16/20
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Hi to all,


Ever heard of Joseph Terranova?


No? Well, I didn't either, until a friend of mine asked me, if I knew that Mario's first musical teacher was a man named Joseph Terranova.

Actually, I thought he was kidding me, but he promised me to have proof and then sent me a photo, which he had come across of on the internet.

It is a photo signed by Mario, who wrote: „To Mr. Joseph Terranova – My very first music teacher and a truly wonderful person, may I wish you the very best of everything in life always from Mario Lanza.“

Well, I admit that I was still skeptical, until I saw the photo. The writing looks authentic, our experts here might agree (Mario signed using the green ink as he used to do).

 

I did some research, and did indeed find a man named Joseph "Joe" Terranova, who was a piano teacher and coach, accompanist and pianist from Philadelphia. His wife Marie was also a pianist.

He was born in Italy about 1890 (I suppose his original name was Giuseppe Terranova).

 

That is about all I could find out. There’s not much mention about him in the newspapers, and whenever I found his name, it was around the 1930s/1940s. It appears that he mainly worked in the Pennsylvania area. I can only speculate, that Terranova „coached“ Mario very early, maybe some time in the (late?) 1930s - the „pre-Irene-Williams era.“ Terranova must at least have lived until 1968, that’s the last time I saw his name mentioned in a newspaper.

 

The signed photo is attached.

 

Steff

Mario Lanza, autographed photo, music teacher Joseph Terranova.JPG
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Steff Walzinger

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Aug 15, 2020, 6:25:51 AM8/15/20
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Hello to all,

Here's an excerpt from an interview ("Richard Stilwell - From Rock'n Roll to the Met" - 14 August 2020) with Richard Stilwell (born 1942), a bass baritone from Saint Louis, Missouri. It's always nice to hear/read such lovely accounts.

Steff

Erica Miner: How would you describe your journey to the opera stage?

Richard Stilwell: Unlikely, considering my young years. I loved singing from a very early age, in church and high school. I had never been exposed to the world of opera, nor classical music, before late high school years. I grew up with Pop, Rock n' Roll, Gospel and Country Music- everything but classical. My first taste of opera was hearing Mario Lanza on an LP from the soundtrack of the movie The Great Caruso in a record shop in St. Louis when I was about 17. I stood enthralled for a long time before asking the salesman what kind of music that was. I'd never heard anything like it. He said, "Italian opera," and explained a little about it. I bought the LP, played it over and over, totally mesmerized by the power and passion of Lanza's voice singing those arias. The door to opera had been opened and would never close again.


https://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwopera/article/BWW-Interview-Richard-Stilwell-of-PELLEAS-ET-MELISANDE-at-New-York-City-Opera-20200814


THOMPSON

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Aug 15, 2020, 9:07:32 AM8/15/20
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Hello Steff,

We will never tire of hearing stories of the influence Mario's voice had on young singers. I am sure the love of hearing this voice stayed with these folks, as it does with us, for the rest of their lives.

Stay safe,

Jim Thompson

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María Teresa Camp Gozalbo

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Aug 15, 2020, 7:15:01 PM8/15/20
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I am Spanish-Mexican and I loved Mario since I was 13, when my mom took me to the movies in Acapulco (where we lived) I am 81 now and I still love Mario's voice. I had the privilege to meet his son Damon, (RIP) in 2003 and 2004 in Philadelphia. Those events were one of the best moments in my life. I met Licia Albanese (RIP) and Elaine Malbin and Aaron Caruso. I am sorry if I missed someone else. It was 14 years ago. 

Steff Walzinger

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Aug 30, 2020, 4:11:26 PM8/30/20
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Hi to All,

An interesting news about "Columbia Artists." As you know the Bel Canto Trio, consisting of Mario Lanza, Frances Yeend and George London was under contract of this agency. Only a few years ago, in 2017, there was a revival of the Trio to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

Columbia Artists Management Inc. Will Close its Doors

The company confirmed the closure in a statement emailed Saturday to CAMI artists.

by BWW News Desk Aug.30, 2020

Columbia Artists Management Inc. has announced that it is shutting down, ABC reports.

The company confirmed the closure in a statement emailed Saturday to CAMI artists. It will officially close its doors on Monday.

"Columbia Artists" has engaged with a fiduciary to enter into an assignment for the benefit of creditors, a form of insolvency proceeding where assets are liquidated and claims addressed in an orderly manner," the statement said. "We are working tirelessly to provide each of you concrete guidance on your specific situation in the coming days. In addition, we're working together with the fiduciary to see a safe place to land for your Columbia Artists relationship."

Read more on ABC.

Based in New York City, Columbia Artists was formed in 1930 as Columbia Concerts Corporation by Arthur Judson and William S. Paley.

CAMI has represented a very large number of active classical artists worldwide, including singers Leontyne Price, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Renata Tebaldi, Mario Lanza, Jussi Björling, John McCormack, Richad Tucker, Paul Robeson, and Geoge London; pianists Vladimir Horowitz, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, and Van Cliburn; violinists Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin, and Tossy Spivakovsky; and conductors Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, and Otto Klemperer.

 

https://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwmusic/article/Columbia-Artists-Management-Inc-Will-Close-its-Doors-20200830

 

 

 

About Columbia Artists

(from https://columbia-artists.com)

A legendary organization in the performing arts industry, Columbia Artists is a worldwide leader in artist management. Our managers, producers, and agents serve an unsurpassed roster of top instrumentalists, conductors, opera singers and other vocalists, orchestras, theatrical and musical attractions, commercial symphonic events, and dance ensembles of all kinds. In close collaboration with our clientele, Columbia Artists shapes individual careers and develops national and international touring and performance strategies.

The history of Columbia Artists Management Inc. – Columbia Artists – is to a great extent the history of the modern concert business in America. Since its formation as the Columbia Concerts Corporation on December 12, 1930, our Managers have worked with many of the greatest artists ever to perform on the concert stage, including sopranos Leontyne Price, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Renata Tebaldi; mezzo–soprano Risë Stevens; contralto Marian Anderson; tenors Jussi Björling, Mario Lanza, John McCormack, Lauritz Melchior and Richard Tucker; bass–baritone George London; bass Paul Robeson; pianists Van Cliburn and Vladimir Horowitz; violinists Jascha Heifetz and Yehudi Menuhin; cellist Mstislav Rostropovich; conductors Herbert von Karajan, Eugene Ormandy, Antal Dorati and Otto Klemperer; composer–conductors Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Igor Stravinsky; and composer–conductor–pianists Sergei Prokofiev and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Columbia Artists's founding and first decades are inextricably linked with the legendary figure of Arthur Judson, who played a seminal role in the development of classical music both as a modern business and as a major cultural presence in the electronic mass media of the 20th century. He was of particular influence in the fields of radio and recordings throughout the 1930's.

Trained as a concert violinist, Judson became a reporter for Musical America in 1907. His work led to a friendship with the new conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a young man named Leopold Stokowski. This in turn, resulted in Judson's becoming manager of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1915, after Stokowski became its director. The position served as the cornerstone for Judson's career as a manager under the banner of Concert Management Arthur Judson.

By the mid 1920's, he was cited by The New York Times as "the leading American concert manager," managing the New York Philharmonic and the famed summertime concert series at the City College of New York's Lewisohn Stadium, as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra and a growing roster of talented individuals.

With the rise of radio in the '20s, he formed the Judson Radio Corporation in 1926, with a plan to supply classical performances to the new NBC radio network, formed that same year by RCA. When NBC opted to develop its own programming, Judson quickly organized a rival network, United Independent Broadcasters, in January 1927. Short on financing, the organization was renamed when the parent company of Columbia Records became a major partner. By September, the phonograph company sold its interest to William S. Paley, an ambitious young executive at a family-owned cigar company in Philadelphia. The fledgling network became known as the Columbia Broadcasting System, with Arthur Judson as its second largest stockholder.

As the musical needs of the growing network multiplied, Paley and Judson merged seven of the country's leading independent concert bureaus in 1930 as Columbia Concerts Corporation, pooling the musical knowledge, commercial acumen and booking facilities of key figures in the concert management business. The companies that were merged included Concert Management Arthur Judson, the Wolfsohn Musical Bureau (the oldest concert bureau in America), the Metropolitan Musical Bureau, Evans & Salter, Haensel & Jones, the American Opera Company and Community Concerts Service. The new firm served as a home base for managers whose rosters represented the most famous artists of the day and whose activities covered all of North America. The organization laid claim at the time to managing nearly two–thirds of the top concert artists in America.

William S. Paley became the first chairman of the board of Columbia Concerts Corporation with Judson as president. Other officers of the new corporation included Frederick C. Schang, Jr., a former journalist from the New York Tribune who later became president of Columbia Artists, and F.C. Coppicus, the founder of the Metropolitan Musical Bureau. Community Concerts, under the leadership of its founder, Ward French, continued to operate as a subsidiary serving to bring live classical music to smaller venues across the continent by means of prepaid subscription series. French later served as chairman of Columbia Artists.

In 1938, CBS acquired Columbia Records, its one–time parent company. By 1941, under pressure from government regulators, both CBS and NBC ended their longtime relationships with their respective talent management companies. The independent Columbia Concerts renamed itself as Columbia Artists Management Inc. in 1948.

Frederick Schang, president of Columbia Artists from 1948 until 1959, managed in his long career such performers as Enrico Caruso, Paul Robeson, Jussi Björling, Lily Pons, David Oistrakh and the Trapp Family Singers. Subsequent presidents of Columbia Artists have included Lawrence Evans, one of the founders, Kurt Weinhold, who started with the company as a salesman, and Ronald A. Wilford, who came to Columbia Artists to create its theatrical division in 1970 and went on to head the company as Chairman and CEO until his death in 2015.

The company was headquartered from 1959 until 2005 at 165 West 57th Street in Manhattan in a landmark building across from Carnegie Hall that was built as a dance studio in 1916. Columbia Artists' corporate headquarters are now located nearby at 1790 Broadway, in a 1912 building at the corner of 58th Street at Columbus Circle.

The principle of cooperation among independent managers, which first inspired the company's formation, has guided Columbia Artists for more than eight decades. Reflecting today's ever-changing performing arts landscape, the firm has formed a new internal structure that merges the iconic firm's founding principles of creativity, innovation, integrity, and passion for excellence with its new team–oriented and collaboration-first business practices. Organized in four business groups (Classical Music, Performing Arts Touring and Events, Opera Vocal, and Theatricals), Columbia Artists managers, producers, and agents continue to shape individual artist careers, develop national and international touring and live performance strategies, and further the organization as a global leader in arts management.

 
Steff



Tony Partington

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Aug 31, 2020, 1:11:04 PM8/31/20
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Interesting that the ABC write up about CAMI closing did not mention Mario Lanza. I'm quite sure that he was, during his short career, one of the biggest artists CAMI had, and probably made a good many dollars for the organization.

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Steff Walzinger

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Aug 31, 2020, 1:44:13 PM8/31/20
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Hi Toni,

"The New York Times" (Aug. 29, 2020 - Associated Press) didn't mention Mario's name either:


"The agency, founded in December 1930, has represented many of the leading conductors, among them Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Eugene Ormandy, Antal Dorati and Otto Klemperer. Its pianists included Vladimir Horowitz and Van Cliburn. and its singer roster had Leontyne Price, Renata Tebaldi, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Risë Stevens, Marian Anderson, Richard Tucker and Jussi Björling."

Well, they had a lot of artists under contract. Impossible to mention them all in the swansong. Unfortunately CA has already removed the roster on their website. It still had been there yesterday.

Steff



Am Montag, 31. August 2020 19:11:04 UTC+2 schrieb Tony Partington:
Interesting that the ABC write up about CAMI closing did not mention Mario Lanza. I'm quite sure that he was, during his short career, one of the biggest artists CAMI had, and probably made a good many dollars for the organization..

Steff Walzinger

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Oct 17, 2020, 6:21:15 AM10/17/20
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Interesting!


BY: Robert Petrone

Flags In South Philadelphia's Mario Lanza Park Bearing Image of The Tenor Were Replaced with an Image of a Bird. Attorney Robert Petrone reports this week, the flags in South Philadelphia's Mario Lanza Park bearing the esteemed Philadelphia tenor's face were replaced with flags with a cartoon bird on it.                                      Petrone wants to do something about it. "I propose the below letter be sent to Friends of Mario Lanza Park signed by whoever tells me to affix their name," he says. His email address is robert...@yahoo.com. Here is the text of his letter.

Dear Ms. Mell, 

It has come to the attention of the Italian-American residents of Philadelphia that Mario Lanza's image has been removed from the flags adorning the park that is named in his honor. We the undersigned are appalled that this was done without consideration for the community, during a time when we are in great pain at the recent and repeated removal of the likenesses of Italian-American icons all over the city, including (1) the removal of the statue of the first and only Italian-American mayor of Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo, whose administration as Chief of Police integrated the police force by putting both African-American and Caucasian officers together in the same squad cars and promoting the first officers of color to administrative positions, (2) the boxing up of the statue of the first civil rights activist of the Americas, Christopher Columbus, at Marconi Plaza, and (3) the obliteration of the names of Columbus and many prominent Italian-Americans at the base of the Columbus monument at Penn's Landing.

Despite that misguided historical revisionists have slandered Mayor Rizzo and Christopher Columbus of late -- slander that has been debunked categorically of late -- no such slander has ever been levied against Mario Lanza. There can be no other reason for the continuation of this course of conduct than blatant Italophobia.

That Friends of Mario Lanza Park, entrusted as stewards of the park and its contents, would be so insensitive to the community in this regard, is unforgivable. Our community demands that Mario Lanza's likeness be restored immediately.

Sincerely 

SOURCE: Primo Magazine

Derek McGovern

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Oct 17, 2020, 8:21:14 AM10/17/20
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Thanks for posting this, Steff. 

While I'm old enough to remember how controversial Mayor Frank Rizzo was, it's incredibly unfair that Mario seems to have become collateral damage, either because he was from the same generation of Italian-Americans (I'm assuming) or because he knew Rizzo. 

Mind you, this ethnic cleansing, for want of a better term, is happening everywhere. Poor old George Bernard Shaw, who was about as non-racist as one could imagine---and a socialist and feminist to boot---has suffered the same fate at London's venerable RADA, after students there denounced him. Shaw was one of RADA's founding members and incredibly generous to its acting students both in his lifetime and in his will. (I wonder if RADA will have the nerve to say no now to the royalties that it still receives from performances of My Fair Lady, thanks to Shaw's estate?!)       

Cheers,
Derek

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Valeria Pugiotto

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Oct 18, 2020, 11:18:47 AM10/18/20
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Derek,
I am in contact with a journalist in Philly, who is also a great fan of Mario. He told me he has received anonymous emails insulting Mario because he was a ‘womanizer’.
Now, if these new ‘Barbarians’ will start destroying the images of any star who had some affairs in the last one hundred years, we should close all cinema theatres, burn cds and vynils and forget about all their names. This is ridicolous!
I wonder if they will destroy Martin Luther King’s statues. He really was a womanizer....
Because it should go BOTH ways...
By the way, very few know the truth about Cristoforo Colombo, only scholars really. What they teach in school is very biased, especially in the US.
It is a world of people who base their knowledge on what they see on tv. They do not read. They do not research before talking. They are fed what to think and what to do.

leeann

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Oct 18, 2020, 5:32:47 PM10/18/20
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
{deletec and reposted.}

Anything Robert Petrone writes needs a lot of fact-checking.

He's written about Christopher Columbus and at best, his point of view is biased; at worst, it's undocumented, ahistoric, non-factual sycophancy. 

His point of view about Frank Rizzo, too, at best, is one-sided; at worst, based on a universe of  "alternate facts."

Taking down the statue of Columbus, painting over the enormous mural of Frank Rizzo and removing the statue near City Hall in Philadelphia  are certainly controversial acts and it's going to be a while before arguments about their usefulness in promoting social justice and equality are resolved. Right now, dumb stuff and good stuff are mixed together.

But in the meantime, removing memorials to Columbus and Rizzo don't seem to be anti-Italian crusade, but actions in a fight against racism, inequality, exclusion, and injustice. 

Mario Lanza Boulevard and the Mario Lanza mural remain. And the loss of Lanza's childhood home was a matter of urban development, not an anti-Italian crusade.

I'd suggest Petrone pick up the phone and call Friends of Mario Lanza Park and find out why the flags were changed. They could simply be out for repair and dry cleaning.

Facts first would be helpful. Context, too.

In the meantime, I suspect the Lanza legacy is alive and well in Philadelphia.

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