Lanzapolooza! A Celebration of Mario Lanza

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In advance of the Academy Awards, this Saturday at 11:30 am, host Marilyn Horne reviews the life of an opera star whose career was made by the movies. Mario Lanza starred in a series of hit MGM films during the 1950s and inspired such contemporary luminaries as Domingo, Pavarotti and Carreras (i.e. the Three Tenors).

Mark Rotella, author of Amore: The Story of Italian American Song and Stolen Figs and Other Adventures in Calabria and Marilyn Horne speculate: Could Lanza have had a career on the opera stage? Was his voice only fit for recording studios? The show includes Lanza performances of arias and songs, so you can hear for yourself.

Tenor Joseph Calleja, who returns to the Met next season, shares his own Lanza story. He says he would never have started singing if it weren’t for Lanza. The show wraps up with a visit from James Jorden, who enlightens us about another versatile artist of Lanza’s day— Dorothy Kirsten.

Scroll down to see Mario Lanza sing "Be My Love," one of the songs he's known best for. 

 

 

Playlist:

Brodszky-Cahn The Toast of New Orleans “Be My Love”
Ray Sinatra Orchestra; Ray Sinatra, conductor; Mario Lanza, tenor  
RCA 118574

Brodszky-Cahn The Toast of New Orleans “Be My Love”
London Symphony Orchestra; Karl-Heinz Loges, conductor; Placido Domingo, tenor
Deutsche Grammophon 445777  

Brodszky-Cahn The Toast of New Orleans “Be My Love”
London Studio Orchestra; Marcello Viotti, conductor; José Carreras, tenor
Philips 462892

Brodszky-Cahn The Toast of New Orleans “Be My Love”
BBC Concert Orchestra; Steven Mercurio, conductor; Joseph Calleja, tenor
Decca 001743802

Pietro Mascagni Cavalleria Rusticana Finale
MGM Studio Orchestra; Johnny Green, conductor
Mario Lanza, tenor; Peggy Bonini, soprano; Kathryn Chapman, mezzo-soprano
From MGM film soundtrack to Because Your Mine (1952) | Recorded 11/10/51 & 11/28/51
Turner Classic Movies R2 72958

Giuseppe Verdi Rigoletto “La donna è mobile”
RCA Victor Orchestra; Constantine Callinicos, conductor; Mario Lanza, tenor
RCA 118574

Umberto Giordano Fedora “Amor ti vieta”
BBC Concert Orchestra; Steven Mercurio, conductor; Joseph Calleja, tenor
Decca 001743802

Sigmund Romberg The Student Prince “Serenade”
Lyrics by Dorothy Donnelly with revised lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus; Constantine Callinicos, conductor; Mario Lanza, tenor
From MGM film soundtrack to The Student Prince (1954) | Recorded 7/29/52 & 8/5/52
Turner Classic Movies Music R2 72958

James Jorden's Observations on Opera

George Gershwin “Soon”
Jerome Kern “I'm Old Fashioned”
Jerome Kern “Look for the Silver Lining.”
Percy Faith, conductor; Dorothy Kirsten, soprano
Collectors' Choice Music 1124989

Gustave Charpentier Louise “Depuis le jour”
New Orleans Opera Orchestra; Franco Patanè, conductor; Dorothy Kirsten, soprano
VAI Music 1154