Mario Lanza
Opera singer, actor
Mario Lanza
Mario Lanza, was an American tenor, singer, actor, and Hollywood movie star of the late 1940s and the 1950s. The son of Italian emigrants, he began studying to be a professional singer at the age of 16. He was born Alfredo Arnold Cocozza. He changed his name when he signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. His mother's maiden name was Maria Lanza. After appearing at the Hollywood Bowl in 1947, Lanza signed a seven-year contract with MGM's head, Louis B.
Biography
Mario Lanza's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Mario Lanza
News
News abour Mario Lanza from around the web
BBC Proms, Cadogan Hall/Royal Albert Hall, London - Financial Times
Google News - over 5 years
The six vocalists – lyrical Annalene Beechey and Sarah Fox, jazz-tinted Clare Teal and Matthew Ford, Charles Castronovo wholehearted in his Mario Lanza number and, brilliant as ever, the scorching Caroline O'Connor – did not let the side down
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Quiz is a salute to Auer Center for Arts - News Sentinel
Google News - over 5 years
Mario Lanza; 4. Aaron Copeland; 5. Andrew Lloyd Webber; 6. “Fidelio” 7. Peter Martins 8. John Keats 9. “Dance of the Hours” 10. “Guys and Dolls” 11. Conductor and artistic director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic; 12. Walt Whitman; 13
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Bill Nabel Brings TAKE ME AMERICA to Village Theatre, 9/14-11/20 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Other credits include the books and lyrics for LOVE ON ICE, the world's first cryogenic musical; WHO KILLED Mario Lanza?; GOLLYWOBBLE, a musical based on "The Andy Griffith Show" for Paramount Pictures; HABEAS CORPUS, the nom-de-plume musical and GO
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The Student Prince - Windy City Times
Google News - over 5 years
The classic operetta is still remembered thanks to a 1950s film adaptation featuring Mario Lanza's vocals and its rousing score (especially the much-reprised "Drinking Song" which was recently used to hawk Dasani water in TV commercials)
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Palm Court announces 25th anniversary season - Canada.com
Google News - over 5 years
In February, 2012, the Palm Court presents the ultimate Valentine concert with a tribute to the great American tenor, Mario Lanza. Che romantico! Everyone's favorite tenor and local heartthrob Ken Lavigne will perform all his famous songs including "O
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Harbor House resident has 103 reasons to smile - SILive.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The film will showcase 20 artists (including Louie Prima, Perry Como, Frankie Laine, Mario Lanza, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin and others). Their songs, styles and vocalizing will surely evoke wonderful memories Admission is
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Smooth groove - Khaleej Times
Google News - over 5 years
He was more what I'd call pop opera, very similar to (1940s Hollywood singer) Mario Lanza. He spent his younger days doing the circuit in northern England, and sometimes sang as the straight man in comedy double acts. I'd love to be able to go back and
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Weekend Fun - Port Huron Times Herald
Google News - over 5 years
Along M-29 and M-25 from Algonac to Sebewaing in Huron County. l A Tribute to Mario Lanza, 4 pm Sunday. Lexington Music Theatre Co., 7318 Huron Ave. (810) 359-0121, www.lexmtc.com. $19 to $29. l Blue Water Folk Society Thumbfest Benefit,
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Classical singer Victor Michael on performing at the Floral Pavilion ... - Wirral News
Google News - over 5 years
He will sing classical hits and songs from the shows, with a section dedicated to Mario Lanza and Andrea Bocelli. The singer said: “The last time I performed at the Floral Pavilion it was a full house and it was a fantastic night
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Harbourfront Concert Series performance a thank-you for Lucia Melnick - Daily Miner and News
Google News - over 5 years
In addition to Whiting and Franko's set list of songs made famous by Italian operatic tenor Pavarotti and American tenor Mario Lanza, Kingsbury will be hammering out a collection of famous piano pieces by Beethoven and Chopin
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Jordan Miller to Play Palm Desert, 8/7 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
The show will feature songs made famous by such legends as Howard Keel, John Raitt, Robert Goulet, and Mario Lanza, along with some Broadway history and stories from Miller's own theatrical career. Born in Huntsville, Texas Mr. Miller began his vocal
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Church opera concert - Bridlington Today
Google News - over 5 years
HEAD along to St John's Burlington Methodist Church for a concert of Mario Lanza songs on Tuesday August 2, at 12.30pm. Martin Neil Dunn, opera tenor, stars in the concert which costs £5 on the door. Refreshments are available from 11.30am
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Equine Health and Welfare Alliance Hosts Inaugural Fundraiser - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
... "My Lagan Love," with lyrics by Joseph Campbell, "Younger than Springtime" from the popular musical South Pacific by Richard Rodgers, and the Mexican song, "Granada," by Agustín Lara, covered by artists Mario Lanza and Frank Sinatra
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Dogs Need Ice Cream, Too - NBC Philadelphia
Google News - over 5 years
11:30 am to 12:15 pm -- Mario Lanza Dog Park, 2nd St. & Queen St., Philadelphia, Pa. 1:15 to 2 pm -- Passyunk Square Dog Park, 1200 Wharton St., Philadelphia, Pa. 2:15 to 3 pm -- Seger Park, 1020 Lombard St., Philadelphia, Pa
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Tom Glover's Sing-Along Concert Series - Mercer Space
Google News - over 5 years
... which invites residents to bring a blanket or a folding chair to the Kuser Park Gazebo to enjoy Tom Glover's renditions of songs from musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Patti Page, Joni James, Eddie Fisher, Don Cornell, Mario Lanza,
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Mario Lanza artist strikes again - expressandstar.com
Google News - over 5 years
A notorious artist who haunts pubs across Staffordshire and the Black Country with drawings of opera singer Mario Lanza has struck again. The mystery figure, who draws the same cartoon image of Lanza on beermats and includes a fact or a quote,
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Mario Lanza
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2009
    Age 88
    His equally outstanding colleague Plácido Domingo echoed these comments in a 2009 CBS interview with, "Lanza's passion and the way his voice sounds are what made me sing opera.
    More Details Hide Details I actually owe my love for opera... to a kid from Philadelphia." Even today "the magnitude of his contribution to popular music is still hotly debated," and because he appeared on the operatic stage only twice, many critics feel that he needed to have had more "operatic quality time" in major theaters before he could be considered a star of that art form. His films, especially The Great Caruso, influenced numerous future opera stars, including Joseph Calleja, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. According to opera historian Clyde McCants, "Of all the Hollywood singers who performed operatic music... the one who made the greatest impact was Mario Lanza." Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper concluded that "there had never been anyone like Mario, and I doubt whether we shall ever see his like again".
  • 2008
    Age 87
    In an interview shortly before her own death in 2008, González recalled that Lanza was "very correct, likeable, with a powerful and beautiful voice".
    More Details Hide Details His budding 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. He also appeared in the film version of the latter (albeit as an unrecognizable member of the chorus). He resumed his singing career with a concert in Atlantic City with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in September 1945 under Peter Herman Adler, subsequently his mentor. The following month, he replaced tenor Jan Peerce on the live CBS radio program Great Moments in Music on which he made six appearances in four months, singing extracts from various operas and other works. He studied with Enrico Rosati for fifteen months, and then embarked on an 86-concert tour of the United States, Canada and Mexico between July 1947 and May 1948 with bass George London and soprano Frances Yeend. Reviewing his second appearance at Chicago's Grant Park in July 1947 in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, 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."
  • 2007
    Age 86
    In October 2007, Charles Messina directed the big budget musical Be My Love: The Mario Lanza Story, written by Richard Vetere, about Lanza's life, which was produced by Sonny Grosso and Phil Ramone, and which premiered at The Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Greenvale, New York.
    More Details Hide Details Mario Lanza Boulevard is a roadway in the Eastwick section of Lanza's native Philadelphia, close to Philadelphia International Airport and ending on the grounds of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. The Mario Lanza Institute and Museum, which honors Lanza's legacy and also provides scholarships to young singers, is located at 712 Montrose Street in South Philadelphia. Link label
  • 1994
    Age 73
    In 1994, outstanding tenor José Carreras paid tribute to Lanza during a worldwide concert tour, saying of him, "If I'm an opera singer, it's thanks to Mario Lanza."
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  • 1987
    Age 66
    Shortly before his own death in 1987, Enrico Jr. wrote in Enrico Caruso: My Father and My Family (posthumously published by Amadeus in 1990) that: "I can think of no other tenor, before or since Mario Lanza, who could have risen with comparable success to the challenge of playing Caruso in a screen biography...
    More Details Hide Details Lanza was born with one of the dozen or so great tenor voices of the century, with a natural voice placement, an unmistakable and very pleasing timbre, and a nearly infallible musical instinct."
  • 1983
    Age 62
    In 1983, a 90-minute PBS documentary, Mario Lanza: The American Caruso, hosted by Plácido Domingo and featuring Lanza's family and professional associates; was nominated for a Primetime Emmy as "Outstanding Informational Special."
    More Details Hide Details In 1998, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him. Mario Lanza has been awarded two Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: a Star for Recording at 1751 Vine Street, and a Star at 6821 Hollywood Boulevard for Motion Pictures. At the height of his career, Lanza was voted by exhibitors as being among the most popular stars in the country:
  • FORTIES
  • 1967
    Age 46
    Philadelphia's Queen Street Park was renamed for Lanza in 1967.
    More Details Hide Details Link label Lanza was born at 636 Christian Street in South Philadelphia. A Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission marker stands outside of the house.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1959
    Age 38
    On September 25, 1959, he entered Rome's Valle Giulia clinic for the purpose of losing weight for an upcoming film.
    More Details Hide Details While in the clinic, he underwent 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 and Lanza died of cancer at the age of 37. No autopsy was performed. He left a shattered wife and four children. His wife returned to Hollywood completely devastated. She died five months later of a drug overdose. He was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Maria Caniglia, Franco Fabrizi and Enzo Fiermonte attended the funeral. Frank Sinatra sent his condolences by telegram. Lanza was the first RCA Victor Red Seal artist to win a gold disc and the first artist to sell 2 1/2 million albums Lanza was referred to by some sources as the "new Caruso" after his "instant success" in Hollywood films, while MGM hoped he would become the movie studio's "singing Clark Gable" for his good looks and powerful voice.
    In April 1959, Lanza reportedly felt sick with natural causes he always told his his family to be strong and just believe.
    More Details Hide Details Not only was it his heart causing problems, but he also had pneumonia.
  • 1958
    Age 37
    In September 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.
    More Details Hide Details It was then that he came to the attention of that opera house's artistic director, Riccardo Vitale, who promptly offered the tenor carte blanche in his choice of operatic roles. Lanza also received offers to sing in any opera of his choosing from the San Carlo in Naples. 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. His old habits of overeating and crash dieting, coupled with binge drinking, compounded his problems.
    From January to April 1958, Lanza gave a concert tour of the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany.
    More Details Hide Details He gave a total of 22 concerts on this tour, receiving mostly positive reviews for his singing. Despite a number of cancellations, which resulted from his failing health during this period, Lanza continued to receive offers for operatic appearances, concerts, and films.
  • 1957
    Age 36
    He then moved to Rome, Italy in May 1957, where he worked on the film Seven Hills of Rome, and returned to live performing in November of that year, singing for Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Show at the London Palladium.
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  • 1955
    Age 34
    Lanza returned to an active film career in 1955 in Serenade, released by Warner Bros.
    More Details Hide Details However the film was not as successful as his previous films, despite its strong musical content, including arias from Der Rosenkavalier, Fedora, L'arlesiana, and Otello, as well as the Act I duet from Otello with soprano Licia Albanese. Ms. Albanese said of Lanza in 1980: I had heard all sorts of stories about Mario Lanza. That his voice was too small for the stage, that he couldn't learn a score, that he couldn't sustain a full opera; in fact, that he couldn't even sing a full aria, that his recordings were made by splicing together various portions of an aria. None of it is true! He had the most beautiful lirico spinto voice. It was a gorgeous, beautiful, powerful voice. I should know because I sang with so many tenors. He had everything that one needs. The voice, the temperament, perfect diction.... Vocally he was very secure. All he needed was coaching. Everything was so easy for him. He was fantastic!
  • 1952
    Age 31
    In 1952, Lanza was dismissed by MGM after he had recorded the songs for The Student Prince.
    More Details Hide Details The reason most frequently cited in the tabloid press at the time was that his 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 English actor Edmund Purdom, who was dubbed to Lanza's recorded voice. 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 by his former manager, and his lavish spending habits left him owing about $250,000 in back taxes to the IRS.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1951
    Age 30
    In 1951, Lanza portrayed Enrico Caruso in The Great Caruso, which proved a success.
    More Details Hide Details At the same time, Lanza's increasing popularity exposed him to intense criticism by some music critics, including those who had praised his work years earlier. His performance earned him compliments from the subject's son, Enrico Caruso Jr., a tenor in his own right.
  • 1950
    Age 29
    Lanza's first two starring films, That Midnight Kiss and The Toast of New Orleans, both opposite top-billed Kathryn Grayson, were commercial successes, and in 1950 his recording of "Be My Love" from the latter became the first of three million-selling singles for the young singer, earning him enormous fame in the process.
    More Details Hide Details While at MGM, Lanza worked closely with the Academy Award-winning conductor, composer, and arranger Johnny Green. In a 1977 interview with Lanza biographer Armando Cesari, Green recalled that the tenor was insecure about the manner in which he had become successful, and was keenly aware of the fact that he had become a Hollywood star before first having established himself on the operatic stage. "Had Lanza been already a leading tenor, if not the leading tenor at the MetOpera House, and come to Hollywood in between seasons to make a picture, he would have had security of having the Met as his home," Green remarked. According to Green, Lanza possessed "the voice of the next Caruso. Lanza had an unusual, very unusual quality a tenor with a baritone color in the middle and lower registers, and a great feeling for the making of music. A great musicality. I found it fascinating, musically, to work with him".
  • 1949
    Age 28
    In May 1949, he made his first commercial recordings with RCA Victor.
    More Details Hide Details His rendition of the aria "Che gelida manina" (from La bohème) from that session was subsequently awarded the prize of Operatic Recording of the Year by the (United States) National Record Critics Association.
    But, as biographer Armando Cesari wrote, Lanza by 1949 "was already deeply engulfed in the Hollywood machinery and consequently never learned key mid-Verdi tenor role."
    More Details Hide Details At the time of his death, Lanza was preparing to return to the operatic stage. Conductor Peter Herman Adler, with whom Lanza had previously worked both in concert and on the soundtrack of The Great Caruso, visited the tenor in Rome during the summer of 1959 and later recalled that, "Lanza was working two hours a day with an operatic coach, and intended to go back to opera, his only true love." Adler promised the tenor "all possible help" in his "planning for his operatic future." In the October 14, 1959, edition of Variety, it was reported that Lanza had planned to make his return to opera in the role of Canio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci during the Rome Opera's 1960–61 season. This was subsequently confirmed by Riccardo Vitale, Artistic Director of the Rome Opera. Variety also noted that preparations had been underway at the time of Lanza's death for him to participate in recording a series of complete operas for RCA Italiana.
    Following the success of these performances, he was invited to return to New Orleans in 1949 as Alfredo in Verdi's La traviata.
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  • 1948
    Age 27
    Born in 1948.
    More Details Hide Details
    In April 1948, Lanza sang two performances as Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly for the New Orleans Opera Association conducted by Walter Herbert with stage director Armando Agnini.
    More Details Hide Details Reviewing the opening-night performance in the St. Louis News (April 9, 1948), Laurence Oden wrote, "Mario Lanza performed... Lieutenant Pinkerton with considerable verve and dash. Rarely have we seen a more superbly romantic leading tenor. His exceptionally beautiful voice helps immeasurably."
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