Entertainment » Music

Mario Lanza: The Toast Of Hollywood

by Bill Biss
Contributor
Wednesday Sep 4, 2013
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There is an unbridled amount of vocal power and delivery, remarkable tone and passion in Mario Lanza’s voice. Crucial to this is his distinct and clear tenor delivered with clarity and precise diction and you have one of the master class operatic voices of the 20th century. The recordings presented on this two-disc collection "Mario Lanza: The Toast of Hollywood" span a period of time from August of 1949 through 1952 with the exception of the selection "Arrivederci Roma" recorded in November of 1957 from the film "Seven Hills of Rome." In addition, the second CD encompasses several selections from "The Mario Lanza Show" which aired on radio in 1951 and 1952. There are five songs presented during this time that have been previously unreleased and are now available on this Sony Masterworks and Turner Classic Movies collection.

The first CD, "A Tenor at the Movies," encompasses the very finest of his vocal repertoire from his motion picture career at MGM Studios. There is the most widely known classic "Be My Love" which became Lanza’s very first triumph across the country with over a million copies sold of his rendition from his second film "The Toast of New Orleans." Six stellar songs are also presented from a role that seemed destined for Lanza’s intuitive and masterful skills as an opera vocalist in the film biography "The Great Caruso." These recordings are surely the centerpiece of his Hollywood career with "The Loveliest Night of the Year" and "La donna è mobile" from "Rigoletto" providing a spotlight on his amazing talent in both classical and light popular material.

The romantic side of Mario’s talent shines brightly on the ballads included on the second CD of the set titled "A Tenor in Love." Lanza showcases his softer side and beautiful tenor lilt in songs written by legendary composers such as Cole Porter ["What is This Thing Called Love"] and Jerome Kern, along with two selections, "If I Loved You" and "You’ll Never Walk Alone" from Rodgers and Hammerstein. Even a simply structured composition "Day In, Day Out," one of the previously unreleased tracks receives a fresh and majestic grandness to it with Lanza’s approach and delivery.

Ultimately, all the selections on "Mario Lanza: The Toast of Hollywood" pay tribute to the timeless and enthralling talent which was Mario Lanza’s alone. Only 38-years old at the time of his death, Lanza has left behind a lasting legacy of creative genius. His voice truly was... a voice for the ages.

"Mario Lanza: The Toast of Hollywood"
Mario Lanza
CD/Digital Formats
Sony Masterworks

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