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Encyclopedia > Mario Lanza
Mario Lanza as Lt. Pinkerton from Madama Butterfly. Lanza sang the role of Pinkerton at the New Orleans Opera in 1948.
Mario Lanza as Lt. Pinkerton from Madama Butterfly. Lanza sang the role of Pinkerton at the New Orleans Opera in 1948.

Mario Lanza (31 January 19217 October 1959) was an American tenor and Hollywood movie star who enjoyed success in the late 1940s and 1950s. His lirico spinto tenor voice was considered by some to rival that of Enrico Caruso, whom Lanza portrayed in the 1951 film The Great Caruso. Lanza sang a wide variety of music throughout his career, ranging from opera to the popular songs of the day. While his highly emotional style was not always universally praised by critics, he was immensely popular and his many recordings are still prized today. Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly) is an opera in three acts (originally two acts) by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. ... Opera has long been part of the musical culture of New Orleans, Louisiana. ... is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... is the 280th day of the year (281st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about Tenor vocalists in music. ... ... This article is about motion pictures. ... The 1940s decade ran from 1940 to 1949. ... The 1950s decade refers to the years 1950 to 1959 inclusive. ... For the song Caruso by Lucio Dalla, see Caruso (song). ... There is also the compilation album The Great Caruso The Great Caruso is a 1951 film starring Mario Lanza and Ann Blyth. ...

Contents

Operatic career

Born Alfredo Arnold Cocozza in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was exposed to opera and singing at a young age by his Italian immigrant parents, and by the age of 16 his vocal talent had become apparent. Starting out in local operatic productions in Philadelphia, he later came to the attention of conductor Serge Koussevitzky, who provided young Cocozza with a full student scholarship to the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in Massachusetts. Koussevitzky would later tell Lanza that, "Yours is a voice such as is heard once in a hundred years." Nickname: City of Brotherly Love, Philly, the Quaker City Motto: Philadelphia maneto (Let brotherly love continue) Location in Pennsylvania Coordinates: Country United States State Pennsylvania County Philadelphia Founded October 27, 1682 Incorporated October 25, 1701 Mayor John F. Street (D) Area    - City 369. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Tanglewood Music Shed and lawn. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ...


His operatic debut, as Fenton in Otto Nicolai's Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, was at Tanglewood on August 7, 1942, after studying with conductors Boris Goldovsky and Leonard Bernstein. It was here that Cocozza adopted the stage name Mario Lanza, which was the masculine version of his mother’s name. His performances at Tanglewood won him critical acclaim, with Noel Straus of The New York Times hailing the 21-year-old tenor as having "few equals among tenors of the day in terms of quality, warmth, and power." The Merry Wives of Windsor (in German: Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor) is an opera in three acts by Carl Otto Nicolai to a German libretto by Salomon Hermann von Mosenthal, based on the play The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare. ... is the 219th day of the year (220th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Leonard Bernstein in 1971 Leonard Bernstein (IPA pronunciation: )[1] (August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, and pianist. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. ...


His operatic career was interrupted by World War II, when he was assigned to Special Services in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He appeared in the wartime shows On the Beam and Winged Victory while in the Air Corps. He also appeared in the film version of the latter (albeit as an unrecognizable member of the chorus). Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... Winged Victory is a play and, later, a film by Moss Hart, originally created and produced by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II as a morale booster and as a fundraiser for the Army Emergency Relief Fund. ...


He resumed his singing career in October 1945 on the CBS radio program Great Moments in Music, where he made six appearances singing various operatic selections. He later studied with noted teacher Enrico Rosati for fifteen months, then embarked on an 86-concert tour of the United States, Canada and Mexico between July 1947 and May 1948 with George London and Frances Yeend. Reviewing his second appearance at Chicago's Grant Park in July 1947 in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, the respected music critic Claudia Cassidy praised Lanza's "superbly natural tenor" and observed that "though a multitude of fine points evade him, he possesses the things almost impossible to learn. He knows the accent that makes a lyric line reach its audience, and he knows why opera is music drama." This article is about the broadcast network. ... George London (May 30, 1920–March 24, 1985) was a Montreal-born concert and operatic bass-baritone. ... The American soprano Frances Yeend (1918 - ) was born in Vancouver, Washington. ...


In April 1948, Lanza sang two performances as Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly for the New Orleans Opera Association. The conductor was Walter Herbert. Writing in the St. Louis News, critic Laurence Odel observed that, "Mario Lanza performed his duties as Lieut. Pinkerton with considerable verve and dash. Rarely have we seen a more superbly romantic leading tenor. His exceptionally beautiful voice helps immeasurably." Following the success of these performances, Lanza was invited to return to New Orleans in 1949 as Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata. However, as biographer Armando Cesari observes, by 1949 Lanza "was already deeply engulfed in the Hollywood machinery and consequently never learned the role [of Alfredo]." Walter James Herbie Herbert II (b. ...


Film career

Mario Lanza as Lt. Pinkerton and Kathryn Grayson as Cio-Cio San of Madama Butterfly in their 1950 picture The Toast of New Orleans.
Mario Lanza as Lt. Pinkerton and Kathryn Grayson as Cio-Cio San of Madama Butterfly in their 1950 picture The Toast of New Orleans.

A concert at the Hollywood Bowl in August 1947 had brought Lanza to the attention of MGM's Louis B. Mayer, who promptly signed Lanza to a seven-year film contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer. This would prove to be a turning point in the young singer's career. MGM's contract with Lanza required him to commit to the studio for six months, and at first Lanza was able to combine his film career with his operatic one. In May 1949, he made his first commercial recordings with RCA Victor. However, his first two starring films, That Midnight Kiss and The Toast of New Orleans, were very successful, as was his recording career, and Lanza's fame increased dramatically. Kathryn Grayson (born February 9, 1922) is an American actress and singer who was born Zelma Kathryn Elisabeth Hedrick in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. ... Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly) is an opera in three acts (originally two acts) by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. ... Lanza in The Toast of New Orleans The Toast of New Orleans is a 1950 film directed by Norman Taurog and starring Mario Lanza, Kathryn Grayson, David Niven, and Rita Moreno. ... Hollywood Bowl in 2005. ... For alternate meanings of MGM, see MGM (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... MGM redirects here. ... The Sony BMG Music Entertainment logo. ... The screen debut of tenor Mario Lanza, this 1949 MGM production also starred Kathryn Grayson. ... Lanza in The Toast of New Orleans The Toast of New Orleans is a 1950 film directed by Norman Taurog and starring Mario Lanza, Kathryn Grayson, David Niven, and Rita Moreno. ...


In 1951, Lanza portrayed Enrico Caruso in The Great Caruso, which proved an astonishing success. At the same time, his popularity exposed Lanza to intense criticism by some music critics, including those who had praised his work years earlier. For the song Caruso by Lucio Dalla, see Caruso (song). ... There is also the compilation album The Great Caruso The Great Caruso is a 1951 film starring Mario Lanza and Ann Blyth. ...


In 1952, Lanza was dismissed by MGM after he had pre-recorded the songs for The Student Prince. The reason most frequently cited for his dismissal in the tabloid press at the time was that Lanza's recurring weight problem had made it impossible for him to fit into the costumes of the Prince. However, as his biographers Cesari and Mannering have established, Lanza was not overweight at the beginning of the production, and it was, in fact, a disagreement with director Curtis Bernhardt over Lanza's singing of one of the songs in the film that led to Lanza walking off the set. MGM refused to replace Bernhardt, and the film was subsequently made with actor Edmund Purdom miming to Lanza's vocals. Ironically, the eventual director of the film was Richard Thorpe, the same man whom Lanza had pleaded with MGM to replace Bernhardt, and with whom the tenor had enjoyed an excellent working relationship on The Great Caruso. The Student Prince is an operetta written by Sigmund Romberg (music) and Dorothy Donnelly (books and lyrics). ... Curtis Bernhardt (April 15, 1899 - February 22, 1981) was a German film director born in Worms, Germany. ... Edmund Purdom is an English actor and voice actor. ... Richard Thorpe (February 24, 1896 - May 1, 1991) was an American film director. ...


Depressed by his dismissal, and with his self-confidence severely undermined, Lanza became a virtual recluse for more than a year, frequently seeking refuge in alcoholic binges. During this period Lanza also came very close to bankruptcy as a result of poor investment decisions made by his former manager, and his lavish spending habits left him owing about $250,000 in back taxes to the IRS. . The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the United States government agency that collects taxes and enforces the tax laws. ...


He returned to an active film career in 1955 in Serenade. However, despite its strong musical content, it was not as successful as his previous films. Lanza then moved to Rome, Italy in May 1957, where he worked on the film Seven Hills of Rome and returned to live performing in a series of acclaimed concerts throughout Britain, Ireland and the European Continent. Despite failing health, which resulted in a number of cancellations during this period, Lanza continued to receive offers for operatic appearances, concerts, and films. Mario Lanza preparing to sing Otello in Serenade (1956) Serenade, a 1956 Warner Bros. ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... For the film starring Mario Lanza, see Seven Hills of Rome (film). ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...

Tenor Richard Tucker (left) speaking with Mario Lanza in 1958 at Tucker's Covent Garden debut.
Tenor Richard Tucker (left) speaking with Mario Lanza in 1958 at Tucker's Covent Garden debut.

In late August 1958, he made a number of operatic recordings at the Rome Opera House for the soundtrack of what would turn out to be his final film, For the First Time. Here he came into contact with the Artistic Director of the Rome Opera, Riccardo Vitale, who offered him the role of Canio in Pagliacci in the theater's 1960/61 season. Lanza also received offers from the management of the La Scala and San Carlo opera houses. At the same time, however, his health continued to decline, with the tenor suffering from a variety of ailments, including phlebitis and acute high blood pressure. The old habits of overeating and crash dieting, coupled with his binge drinking, compounded his problems. Richard Tucker (August 28, 1913 – January 8, 1975) was an American tenor. ... The Floral Hall of the Royal Opera House The Royal Opera House is a performing arts venue in London. ... Mario Lanza singing Vesti la Guibba in For the First Time. ... Pagliacci (Players, or Clowns) is an opera consisting of a prologue and two acts written and composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo. ... Phlebitis is an inflammation of a vein, usually in the legs. ... Arterial hypertension, or high blood pressure is a medical condition where the blood pressure is chronically elevated. ...


In April 1959, Lanza suffered a minor heart attack, followed by double pneumonia in August. He died in Rome in October of that year at the age of 38 from a pulmonary embolism after undergoing a controversial weight loss program colloquially known as "the twilight sleep treatment," which required its patients to be kept immobile and sedated for prolonged periods. Lanza's widow, Betty, moved back to Hollywood with their four children but died five months later. Biographer Armando Cesari writes that the apparent cause of death, according to the coroner, was "asphyxiation resulting from a respiratory ailment for which she had been receiving medication." In 1991 Marc, the younger of their two sons, died of a heart attack at the age of 37; six years later, Colleen, their eldest daughter, was killed when she was struck by two passing vehicles on a highway. Heart attack redirects here. ... This article is about human pneumonia. ...


Lanza's short career covered opera, radio, concerts, recordings, and motion pictures. He was the first artist for RCA Victor Red Seal to receive a gold disc. He was also the first artist to sell two and half million albums. A highly influential artist, Lanza has been credited with inspiring the careers of successive generations of opera singers, including Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Leo Nucci and José Carreras, as well as those of singers with seemingly different backgrounds, and influences, his RCA Victor label-mate Elvis Presley being the most notable example. In 1994, tenor José Carreras paid tribute to Lanza in a worldwide concert tour, saying of him, "If I'm an opera singer, it's thanks to Mario Lanza." Sony BMG Music Entertainment is the result of a 50/50 joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment (part of Sony) and BMG Entertainment (part of Bertelsmann AG) completed in August 2004. ... Plácido Domingo José Plácido Domingo Embil KBE (born January 21, 1941)[1] better known as Plácido Domingo, is a world-renowned operatic tenor. ... Luciano Pavarotti performing on June 15, 2002 at a concert in the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille Luciano Pavarotti, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI[1] (October 12, 1935 – September 6, 2007) was a celebrated Italian tenor in operatic music, who successfully crossed into popular music becoming one of the most... Leo Nucci (Born in Castiglione dei Pepoli, Bologna on April 16, 1942) is arguably the worlds greatest living Verdi and Verisimo baritone. ... José Carreras Coll (Catalan: Josep Carreras i Coll) (born December 5, 1946) is a Spanish operatic tenor. ... Elvis redirects here. ... José Carreras Coll (Catalan: Josep Carreras i Coll) (born December 5, 1946) is a Spanish operatic tenor. ...


Filmography

Mario Lanza as Giuseppe Verdi's Otello.
Mario Lanza as Giuseppe Verdi's Otello.

Winged Victory is a play and, later, a film by Moss Hart, originally created and produced by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II as a morale booster and as a fundraiser for the Army Emergency Relief Fund. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The screen debut of tenor Mario Lanza, this 1949 MGM production also starred Kathryn Grayson. ... Year 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Lanza in The Toast of New Orleans The Toast of New Orleans is a 1950 film directed by Norman Taurog and starring Mario Lanza, Kathryn Grayson, David Niven, and Rita Moreno. ... Year 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... There is also the compilation album The Great Caruso The Great Caruso is a 1951 film starring Mario Lanza and Ann Blyth. ... Year 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Because Youre Mine was Mario Lanzas fourth movie, and was criticised upon its release as being artistically a step backwards for the tenor after the success of The Great Caruso (1951) the previous year. ... Year 1952 (MCMLII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Student Prince with Ann Blyth and Edmund Purdom The Student Prince is a 1954 film musical made by MGM. It was directed by Richard Thorpe who replaced the original director, Curtis Bernhardt and produced by Joe Pasternak. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1954 Gregorian calendar). ... The Student Prince with Ann Blyth and Edmund Purdom The Student Prince is a 1954 film musical made by MGM. It was directed by Richard Thorpe who replaced the original director, Curtis Bernhardt and produced by Joe Pasternak. ... Mario Lanza preparing to sing Otello in Serenade (1956) Serenade, a 1956 Warner Bros. ... A car from 1956 Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Mario Lanza in The Seven Hills of Rome. ... Jan. ... Mario Lanza singing Vesti la Guibba in For the First Time. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... “Verdi” redirects here. ... For the Rossini opera, see Otello (Rossini) or for the eurobeat artist see Gianni Coraini. ...

Select recordings

This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar. ... This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ... This article is about the year 1987. ... This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Mario! Lanza At His Best is a CD released by BMG in 1995, and consists of two original albums recorded by tenor Mario Lanza. ... This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Look up gala in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... This 1989 BMG CD features most of the songs recorded by Mario Lanza for the 1954 MGM film The Student Prince. ... This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... courtesy BMG UK The Mario Lanza CD Serenade/A Cavalcade of Show Tunes is a BMG UK twofer, released in 2004. ... This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ... Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ... Events of 2008: (EMILY) Me Lesley and MIley are going to China! This article is about the year. ... This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ... This article is about the year 1987. ... Vesti la Giubba (Put on the costume) is a famous tenor aria performed as part of the opera Pagliacci, written and composed by Ruggiero Leoncavallo, and first performed in 1892. ...

References

  • Cesari, Armando. Mario Lanza: An American Tragedy (Fort Worth: Baskerville, 2004). (ISBN 1-880909-66-9)
  • Callinicos, Constantine. "The Mario Lanza Story" (New York, NY, 1960). (Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 60-12480)
  • Mannering, Derek. "Mario Lanza: Singing to the Gods" (Great Britain, 2001) (ISBN 0-7090-6876-X)
  • Lanza, Damon & Dolfi, Bob. "Be My Love: A Celebration of Mario Lanza" (Chicago, IL, 1999) (ISBN 1-56625-129-X)
  • Bessette, Roland L. "Mario Lanza: Tenor In Exile" (Portland, OR) (ISBN 1-57467-044-1)

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Mario Lanza

  Results from FactBites:
 
Mario Lanza at LanzaLegend.Com (1008 words)
Mario Lanza was born in South Philadelphia, Pa. as Alfredo Arnold Cocozza on January 31,1921.
Mario's mother, Maria Lanza, emigrated to America at the tender age of 6 months from a town not far from Filignano called Tocco da Casauria, in the Abruzzi region.
Mario, then known as 'Freddie', was raised in an atmosphere of opera and Caruso recordings which were played mostly by his father on a daily basis at home.
Mario Lanza - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1107 words)
Lanza was able to sing all types of music, although the rather small size of his voice and its limited dynamic range wouldn't have equipped him for a full-fledged career on the lyric stage.
MGM's contract with Lanza required him to commit to the studio for six months, and at first Lanza was able to combine his film career with his operatic one, singing two acclaimed performances as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for the New Orleans Opera Association in April 1948.
Lanza then moved to Rome, Italy in May 1957, where he worked on the film Seven Hills of Rome and returned to live performing in a series of acclaimed concerts throughout Britain, Ireland and the European Continent.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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