Mario Lanza was born 100 years ago today on January 31, 1921. The legendary tenor has been an inspiration to many of the most important personalities in the world of opera. Maestro Placido Domingo said about Mario Lanza, “one of the truly great natural tenor voices of the past century – a voice of beauty, passion, and power!” As Plácido Domingo wrote in his preface to Armando Cesari’s 2004 biography, Mario Lanza: An American Tragedy, “more to lure the general public to the art form of operatic singing than the voice of almost any other performer before his time,” and Maestro Domingo also acknowledges the tenor’s impact on many of his colleagues.
Mario Lanza looked like a god, he sang like a god. He was the world’s first Superstar. Mario Lanza was the world’s first superstar. His voice captivated her audience and inspired Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Jose Carreras, and many others, to become singers, and was admired by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and more.
Lanza’s voice was a perfectly placed lirico spinto of extended range (low A to high D) with a luscious baritone quality. Mario could sing through all three registers effortlessly, without conspicuous gear change.
The 1983 film “Mario Lanza: The American Caruso” narrated and hosted by Placido Domingo remains the best documentary that explores the life of Lanza.