|Image of Mario Lanza used for promotional purposes for the film Serenade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Mario Lanza was undoubtedly one of the most loved Tenors of all time, his emotional renditions of famous arias and ballads have left a lasting legacy for all time. Born Arnold Alfredo Cocozza in 1921 (The year Enrico Caruso died), he inspired so many modern tenors to have a career in the opera houses of the world.
He had a meteoric rise to fame, and his career went the way of films, where he soon became a matinee idol. Here is a list of his films.
That Midnight Kiss (1949) with Kathryn GraysonThe Toast of New Orleans (1950) with Kathryn GraysonThe Great Caruso (1951) with Ann Blyth. Many consider this to be Lanza,s finest role.Because Your Mine (1952) with Dorretta MorrowThe Student Prince (1954) Although Mario Lanza,s voice was used in this film, he did not appear in it personally.Serenade (1956) All about a rising opera star! with Joan Fontaine.Seven Hills of Rome (1957) with Renato Rascel and Marisa allasio.For The First Time (1959) with Johanna Van Kozian and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
He truly had a gift that is only granted once or twice in one or two centuries, Mario could take a simple Neapolitan love song and turn it into an aria. Once you heard him perform it is often said that he made it his own, and no other could sing it like him with so much excitement and feeling. One such song is Core N Grato.
There are many stories abound about why he did not appear in "The Student Prince", I have in the past heard that he would disappear and binge on food, and his weight would balloon up and down. Another angle is a disagreement on the music, all conjecture and I wonder if anyone outside of his family really knows the truth, about this and his untimely death in 1959. (Another can of worms).
With that said let's just marvel at his talent and be thankful for a career (although brief), that has and continues to bring a lot of pleasure to all that hear him.
Whether you are a fan of Mario Lanza or not, you cannot help but be moved by at least one of his aria,s or ballads. It is like a fine wine "Once tasted never forgotten" and the world will never forget Mario Lanza's rendition of the "Drinking Song" amongst a host of others to take pleasure in.