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Mario Lanza

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Every November, fans honor the romantic tenor Mario Lanza, who made his mark in a career that lasted only around 12 years.  As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, he hit notes both high and low.  Here is the next Fishko Files...

 

When Mario Lanza sang at the Hollywood Bowl in 1947, he was immediately spotted by movie talent scouts. His first two films That Midnight Kiss and The Toast of New Orleans introduced him to the movies. But the film The Great Caruso (clip, above) served as Lanza's breakout role. In playing Enrico Caruso, Lanza got the chance to honor his childhood hero and to inspire many tenors to come.  Yet, the problems and pressures of his sky rocketing fame overtook his career. Lanza died at just 38. Ellisa Lanza Bregman, Lanza's only surviving child, remembers her father and the publicity around his sudden decline.

 

Above: Mario Lanza sits in an armchair with his young daughters Ellisa (left) and Colleen, and his wife, Betty. 1951.

Ellisa Lanza Bregman

Through his films you could see what type of a man he was. He just loved people, and he trusted people. And that was part of the problem: he trusted too many people. But, I just feel that he had his demons, there’s no question about it -- like we all do, at times. But I think over the years the negative stories about him have been exaggerated. I just say, ‘oh my goodness.’ Some of these things are so untrue -- stories about his weight and this and that. And he went up and down. Which he did, I mean, but he felt better when he sang in the studios and recorded the music. And then when he made the movies he would have to lose the weight -- if he gained 15, 20 pounds. So, it was kind of a yo-yo diet situation there during his filming. Sometimes I cringe when I hear certain things. Because I say, ‘Oh, Gosh, it has been so many years and people still talk about certain things.' They just seem to like the negative aspect. But my feeling is that he’s left the world a beautiful legacy that’s still continuing. And I’m so appreciative, as his daughter, to be able to be able to hear him and see his movies.

 

For more from the people heard in this piece...

-Visit the The Mario Lanza Institute.

-Read Mark Rotella's book "Amore: The Story of Italian-American Song."

-Listen to Richard Leech's "From the Heart: Italian Arias and Neapolitan Songs."

 

WNYC Production Credits

Mix Engineer: Wayne Shulmister

Assistant Producer: Laura Mayer

WNYC Newsroom Editor: Karen Frillmann

Produced by:

Sara Fishko
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
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Comments [7]

posterazzi

Mario Lanza Lobby Cards

for the first time---12---com9/us146.JPG
great caruso---19---4075---g1
serenade---13---2035---g4
seven hills of rome---14---100k22
student prince---15---com9/us715.JPG
toast of new orleans---19---2040---g7

https://picasaweb.google.com/posterazzi/USTitles1#5185535532082992178

https://picasaweb.google.com/posterazzi/USTitles2#5185540488475260898

#########################################################################

The Posters are original, and come from a Regional Film Archive in Mexico City.
They were designed in Hollywood and printed in Mexico.
Each Poster contains the same design elements found on Posters from the US.
They contain both stills from the Film and also design elements from the One Sheet Poster.

The typography, photos, artwork, stars names, credits, drawings, scenes, emotional impact,
appeal, and intrinsic value are virtually the same as Posters from Hollywood or any other
international Metropolis where the film had been shown.

However, the layout will be much flashier, more graphically intensive, or even more lurid.
The size is appx. 13" x 17"---over 40% larger than a standard Lobby Card.
As such, each Poster is a cross between a Jumbo Lobby Card, Title Card, and a One Sheet Poster.
The Posters were printed on either heavy Cardboard Stock, thick fine Linen Paper, or
sturdy Poster Stock.

Overall very good condition, altho there will be occasional tears, pinholes, stains, etc.
There are eight different variations for each poster---containing different stills from the film.
Some dupes.

#########################################################################

CATALOG: VIEW 145 LISTS & 5,000 sample JPGS:
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Jul. 10 2011 02:47 PM
John De Bock from Belgium


I was 6 yaers old when hi lost his life and from
my childhood i love the man all what i cant find of MARIO must i have my father love's him my mother did and i love him as long es i live
This wonderful voice of MARIO LANZA will never comback thats for shure He and he allong was the MAESTRO
Thank you Mario Lanza
Excuses for my Englisch
John

Dec. 08 2010 03:08 PM
manny belbis from Chicago

Lanza's golden voice is above any other tenors , in my book. His high notes, from "che gelida manina", to Student Prince , Serenade, to " Be my love". is beyond compare. Never tire"s hearing his singing voice. I wish there will be a movie about his life, using his singing voice.

Nov. 25 2010 01:13 PM
marge patterson

I am so glad that Mario continues to be remembered and appreciated. I rediscovered him three years ago when PBS played a documentary about him during their fund-raising period. At the end of it, when Mario was singing "Vesti la Giubba", I found myself sobbing - not crying - sobbing. That's how much he entered my heart. Since that day I havbe listened to his recordings almost everyday. I am so moved by the strength, the passion, and the vitality of his voice that I asked myself what is it he makes me feel? And the answer is: LOVE. I pray that future gernerations will listen and experience what I have felt and continue to feel. Bravissimo, Mario

Nov. 23 2010 12:26 PM
David Weaver from Columbus, Ohio

An enjoyable look at a remarkable singer who continues to inspire and thrill us more than 50 years after his untimely passing. Thanks very much to WYNC and especially to Sara Fishko.

Nov. 20 2010 11:03 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from www.WagnerOpera.com

MARIO LANZA, singular in his vocal timbre, his "jpie de vivre," his vitality and communicativeness with his moment to moment involvement in the text, the emotion and the music in his every singing performance. I studied with his teacher Enrico Rosati, at the apartment house, the Osborne, directly across the street from Carnegie Hall, on the uptown west side of the intersection of west 57th Street & 7th Avenue. Rosati while I was studying with him, during a voice lesson, received by messenger service a "78" recording album of Lanza's "Toast of New Orleans" film selections, which was just then released for sale. Rosati, in his earlier career, he was in his 90s when I studied with him, taught Beniamino Gigli, Lauritz Melchior [yes, Melchior when he arrived for his "Met" Opera debut as Tannhauser wanted to learn how Gigli sang his pianissimos so he went to to Gigli's guru, so to speak], and Giacomo Lauri-Volpi. The vocal technique I learned from Rosati I incorporated into my "arsenal" of vocal approaches. Every singer uses what works for him/her so every singer has a version of what they have been taught as vocal technique. Lanza's recordings will be enjoyed by multitudes as long as singing inspires listening.
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Wagnerian heldentenor, opera composer: "Shakespeare" & "The Political Shakespeare," & director, the Richard WagnerMusic Drama Institute.
Website: WagnerOpera.com, where one may download 37 complete selections, FREE, from my 3 solo "Carnegie Hall LIVE" concerts there, each about 3 hours long, and my Joint Recital, with a dramatic soprano there, in the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, by opening "Recorded Selections" on the home page.

Nov. 19 2010 03:50 PM
Jim Thompson from Stratford, CT.

Kudos to Ms. Fishko and WNYC on the Lanza presentation. Ellisa is, as always, aloving daughter to her father and mother's memory. My love for Lanza is reflected in the webshow I produce and would love to have on WNYC. It is at:
mariolanzaandfriends.com.

Nov. 19 2010 06:47 AM

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