Mario Lanza is probably considered THE best opera singer ever lived. Since
his death in 1959, no one has been close to his magnificent voice. Luciano
Pavarotti has been close, but not exactly as the greatness as Lanza. In 1998,
Turner Movies and Rhino Records released his Greatest Performances At
M-G-M, a compilation of songs from his movies That Midnight Kiss
(1949), The Toast Of New Orleans (1950), The Great Caruso (1951),
Because You're Mine (1952) and The Student Prince (1954). A
magnificent collection of songs from one of the best opera singers of all time;
opera may not be highly ranked as one's favorite source of music, but after
listening to Mario Lanza, opera just may have heads turning, in wanting to hear
more of what was the popular source of music, long before Rock n Roll existed.
That Midnight Kiss
Most of the songs from this release are duets. Kathryn Grayson joins Lanza
on "They Didn't Believe Me" and "Love Is Music." Both songs
feature the top quality voices of opera, that of Lanza himself, and joined by
another incredible voice, that of Grayson's.
The Toast Of New Orleans
"The Tina Lina" features great orchestration by the MGM Studio
Orchestra, and female vocalist Rita Moreno is also featured. "Be My Love"
was most popular by Lanza himself, as he provided all of the vocals, but on
this release, Kathryn Grayson leads the vocals, with Lanza joining her later.
"I'll Never Love You" has Lanza in the spotlight, handling all of the
vocals, as he stands alone as being a true genius in opera vocalization.
Kathryn Grayson returns with the opening vocals on "Act I Finale" (from
Puccini's 1904 Madama Butterfly), as both Lanza and Grayson showcase
top-quality vocals alternating vocals, likewise singing together, in true
The Great Caruso
Enrico Caruso was Mario Lanza's idol, being one of the greatest tenors,
before Lanza emerged on the scene. Lanza would have the opportunity to portray
Caruso in the movie The Great Caruso, and songs from this movie has
Lanza being just as superior as his idol. "Celeste Aida" (from Verdi's
Aida) is just outstanding. Jacqueline Allen joins Lanza on "Ave
Maria," also with organist Wesley Tourtelotte. A lovely version, yet like
in the song earlier, "Be My Love," it would be best to have Lanza
providing all of the vocals, rather than a duet. However, on the popular
"Sextet" (from Lucia Di Lammermoor, the vocals of Lanza, Blanche
Thebom, Dorothy Kirsten, Guiseppe Valdenga, Nicola Moscona and Gilbert Russell
blends extremely well. The popular "La Donna E Mobile" (from
Rigoletto), has Lanza in true form, as always. Powerful describes another
popular opera favorite, "Vesti La Giubba" (from Pagliacci) --
another wonderful rendition that only Lanza could provide.
Because You're Mine
Beautifuly crafted, the title song has all of the ingredients of Easy
Listening. Truly relaxing, Lanza's vocals are exceptional, and the
orchestration of the MGM Studio Orchestra is outstanding. Doretta Morrow
is also featured with her vocals, but it's Lanza who has 99% of the vocals,
and is another entertaining song to listen to. "All The Things You Are"
was an outtake on this release, and again, just like any other Lanza song,
(having all of the vocals), is truly entertaining. "Granada"
displays a more operatic vocal style; another outstanding performance. Likewise,
the operatic style returns in "Finale" (from Cavalleria Rusticana),
performed with Peggy Bonini and Kathryn Chapman. "The Lord's Prayer" is
another outstanding number, and another entertaining song is the reprise of
"Because You're Mine," also featuring Doretta Morrow and the MGM Studio
The Student Prince
The Student Prince soundtrack brings back memories of 2 particular
songs, one of them contained on this release. "Serenade" is one of the
greatest songs ever recorded, and Lanza's vocals could bring tears to one's
eyes, being so beautifully recorded. Ann Blyth joins Lanza on the beautiful
"Deep In My Heart Dear", and "Beloved" is another outtake; both
songs both beautifully done.
Mario Lanza's music was truly gifted. There isn't a male opera voice to
come close to his gifted vocal talent. Lanza died young of a heart attack,
at the age of 38 in 1959. He left behind a legacy of beautiful, crafted opera
music, that is truly enjoyed by any fan of music. It's a great getaway, from
the common Rock music, likewise great mood music for romantic settings (since
February being Valentine's, this CD would be a great background for those
romantic settings). Experience the joys and wonders of Mario Lanza -- his
music will guarantee repeated listens.
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