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Mario Lanza


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Philadelphia, United States

Mario Lanza (31 January 1921 – 7 October 1959) was an American operatic tenor and Hollywood movie star who enjoyed success in the 1950s. His voice was considered by many to rival that of Enrico Caruso, whom Lanza portrayed in the 1951 film The Great Caruso. Lanza was able to sing all types of music. While his highly emotional style was not universally praised by critics, he was immensely popular and his many recordings are still prized today.

Operatic career:

Born Alfredo Arnold Cocozza in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was exposed to opera and singing at a young age, and by the age of 16 his vocal talent became apparent. Starting out in local operatic productions in Philadelphia, he later came to the attention of conductor Serge Koussevitzky, who provided young Cocozza with a full student scholarship to the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood in Massachusetts. Koussevitzky would later tell Lanza that, “Yours is a voice such as is heard once in a hundred years.”

His operatic debut, as Fenton in Otto Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, was at Tanglewood on August 7, 1942, after just six weeks of study with conductors Boris Goldovsky and Leonard Bernstein. It was here that Cocozza adopted his stage name from his mother Maria’s maiden name of Lanza. His performances at Tanglewood won him critical acclaim, with Noel Straus of The New York Times hailing the 21-year-old tenor as having “few equals among tenors of the day in terms of quality, warmth, and power.”


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  • RenoLanza

    Era(e') un grande! He was(is) a Great!

    19 Feb 11:21am Reply
  • sotis9

    Mario Lanza was just one grade below Jussi Björling, whom I learned to know just in 1950.

    17 May 2014 Reply
  • quixix

    Mario Lanza was more of a show man than a good operatic tenor. I have also listened to a lot of Caruso records, but I can't sing at all

    20 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Ronyrash1

    Mario Lanza is the greatest bel canto tenor ever produced by an English speaking culture,thru his films and records he brought the richness of bel canto from Italy to the world.He learnt bel canto Listening to recordings of the Devine Enrico Caruso.

    31 Oct 2013 Reply
  • cattyss

    mario lanza was and still is the best. He is the best no one could ever sing like him. He is amazing. I have to listen to him every day so his voice stays in my head.

    12 Aug 2013 Reply
  • KsushaIgorevich

    O Holy Night!

    1 Jan 2013 Reply
  • hel1ch

    Ridi Pagliaccio sul tuo amore infranto!

    15 Aug 2011 Reply
  • pettybo

    Agree with Animal, I have a big sweet crush on Lanza's voice plus his way of not limiting himself to strict opera...but Caruso is hands down the greatest in talent and innovative for taking full advantage of the latest technology during his time. (at least to me - I'm not an expert).

    15 Mar 2011 Reply
  • Oblaka

    13 Dec 2010 Reply
  • Chavie1982

    one of my all time favorite singers so much emotions on his high notes.

    11 Nov 2010 Reply
  • petruspaul

    Mario Lanza war ein sehr guter Tenor, und Schauspieler. Doch leider Starb er am 7.10. 1959. Alles was er uns hinter lies sind seine Musik und Filme.

    30 Oct 2010 Reply
  • KevinDemuynck

    Mario lanza isn't popular amongst the youth... a shame !

    31 Aug 2010 Reply
  • chickrocksteady

    watched a documentary about him yesterday, very sad really. longed to be an operatic tenor, altho he struggled in front of large crowds, but was always perceived as a singing movie star, in america at least. and inspired so many after him to sing! a great shame he died so young

    5 Jun 2010 Reply
  • chickrocksteady

    bit surprised donkey serenade isnt up there. aiiiii aiiiii aiiiiii yaiiiiiii aiiiiiiiii AAAAAAAA

    6 Apr 2010 Reply
  • donaldcat

    Enrico Caruso is truely the greatest but I can hardy find any recording of him, even if I did, the recording technique just couldn't capture his true talent... However, I like Mario Lanza more due to his more emotional performance.

    16 Jun 2009 Reply
  • PitaDauphin

    The small amount of plays is shocking.

    23 Mar 2009 Reply
  • TippinMyStuff

    crappy crappy crappy

    9 Mar 2009 Reply
  • blond-ambition

    He's Amazing!

    24 Jan 2009 Reply
  • Animal_1966

    I like Mario Lanza a lot, but the greatest tenor by far is Enrico Caruso.

    3 Jan 2009 Reply
  • SpanishTrain

    greatest tenor, ı like so much his vocal...

    9 Dec 2008 Reply
  • All 37 shouts