Posted 19 Feb
Mario Lanza (1921 - 1959) was for some years the world's most famous tenor. However, Lanza limited his appearances on the operatic stage through signing a seven year contract with MGM to make movies. After a series of disagreements in Hollywood, he moved with his family to Rome, where he was based for the last years of his life. He continued to star in films.
Arturo Toscanini said "He has the finest tenor voice of the 20th century". The writer of his obituary in the Times paid tribute to his voice and his appealing screen personality but lamented that "latterly, (there was) a concentration on force and volume rather than subtlety of phrasing."
It was in 1958, just one year before his untimely death at the age of only 38, that he gave concert performances in Scotland as part of a UK tour. produced by the young Victor Hochhauser. His Scottish concert dates were in the St Andrews Hall, Glasgow (7 Jan), the Usher Hall, Edinburgh (25 Mar) and the Caird Hall, Dundee (27 Mar).
Opera buffs may still remember in particular the movie The Great Caruso (1951), in which Lanza starred. There are still Lanza fans and fan clubs active throughout the world. The OperaScotland archivist is indebted to Jeanette Frese of the Mario Lanza Museum in Philadelphia (his birthplace), for her help in confirming the performance dates.
For further information, click on this link.
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