||From the Vault...
"The Student Prince"
© Sepia Records
Year of Release: 2012
Drink Drink Drink
Summertime In Heidelberg
I'll Walk With God
Come Back To Me
Just We Two
Deep In My Heart Dear
Time On My Hands
What Is This Thing
A Little Love
A Little Kiss
If You Are But A Dream
Where Or When
A Kiss In The Dark
You And The Night
And The Music
Vesti La Giubba
Mario Lanza related sites:
"The Student Prince"
It had been years, decades, for me, to find the original versions of the RCA Victor single "Drink, Drink, Drink"/"Serenade" by whom I
believe is (and still is, alive or dead) the greatest Opera singer of all-time - Mario Lanza. I had the single while growing up, as my mother was a huge
of Mario Lanza. The single was heavily played, as quite truthfully, "Serenade" is one of the best songs ever heard. It still brings tears to my
eyes when I hear this song, because it is such a beautiful song, and Mario's voice was equally just as great. The sad thing about Mario, is that he died
young, and we can only imagine what more he would have accomplished, had he lived past the young age of 38. (Maybe this is also why my tears flow when
I hear "Serenade" -- his voice just captivated me, the way his voice was.) They said he had an ongoing weight problem, as he passed away of a heart
attack in 1959.
Mario Lanza had appeared in movies. His first two were completed by 1950: That Midnight Kiss, and The Toast Of New Orleans. The
Student Prince was a MGM movie in which Mario Lanza was to appear in, in 1954. Yet, he was dismissed from the movie, despite he had already
recorded the music for the film. The problem was with his weight. According to producers, he was not overweight, yet in fact, it was a disagreement between
Lanza and director Curtis Bernhardt, of a song, in which Lanza walked off the set. Bernhardt stayed on as director, and Lanza was replaced by actor Edmund
Purdom. Mario Lanza's music stayed in the film, as Purdom mimed (lip-synched) the singing of Mario Lanza. In the film's credits, it was mentioned:
"the singing voice of Mario Lanza." Richard Thorpe would be the eventual director, of which he wanted Bernhardt replaced. Thorpe had worked with Lanza in
his successful film, The Great Caruso (1951). After The Student Prince movie was made, Lanza became depressed, and went into reclusion for
more than a year, and suffering from alcholism. He also had money issues during this time, and bad investments. He returned to the movie set in 1955, in
the movie Serenade, which did not do as well as his previous movies. It was his last film.
The Student Prince soundtrack (12 songs originally; bonus tracks were included when re-issued on CD) was very popular on the album charts. It was
number one for a total of 36 weeks, in 1954 and 1955.
The first 12 original tracks: "Overture" is basically a medley of various songs from the movie, including "Serenade." "Golden Days"
is a great song by Mario. There are a few duet songs of Mario Lanza and opera vocalist Norma Giusti: "Summertime In Heidelberg," "Just We Two"
(also heard is a full chorus vocalists), "Deep In My Heart, Dear." All well-done recordings.
"I'll Walk With God" is another beautiful song, as it's another song that can bring tears to your eyes, being sung so well. Speaking of,
"Thoughts Will Come Back To Me" showcases his oustanding voice. "Student Life" has more vocalists in this song, as Mario's voice is hardly
heard. "Beloved" (a song specifically written for the film), is another well-done song. "Gaudeamus Iguitur" should be well-known for those
who are familiar with opera songs.
Bonus tracks remain from the CD released in 2012. Beautifully crafted are songs such as "Time On My Hands," and "You And The Night And
The Music." The word "Beautiful" easily defines "Charmaine," "A Little Love, A Little Kiss," "If You Are But A Dream." Another standout on
Lanza's voice is "A Kiss In The Dark." A song that would be a Jazz favorite in later decades -- "What Is This Thing Called Love" -- Mario's
version is different than the normal standards we hear of this song. "Where Or When" is a good song, maybe not as great as the others. (My only
least favorite on this album.) "My Buddy" -- the chorus of this song - where did I hear this before? I think my mother sang this when I was a kid.
It's a great song. The album closes out with the opera classic, "Vesti La Giubba" a song that is true Opera, and it Lanza's voice truly shines on
this song, in high fashion.
Mario Lanza's family, from Lanza's Wikipedia page: His wife Betty, returned to Hollywood after Lanza's death, with their four children. She died five
months later at the age of 37. Her cause of death was "asphyxiation resulting from a respiratory ailment for which she had been receiving medication."
In 1991, Marc, their youngest child, died of a heart attack at 37; six years later, Colleen, their elder daughter, was killed at 48 after being struck by
two passing vehicles on a highway. Damon, the couple's oldest child and elder son, died in August 2008 of a heart attack at 55. The last remaining child
in the family and youngest daughter, Elisa, has survived her siblings to date. [Before his death, son Damon Lanza maintained
LanzaLegend.com, a website dedicated to his father.]
Before there was Elvis, before there was Sinatra, there was Mario Lanza. I believe he was THE star before The King and The Chairman of the
Board came along. If you have not experienced Mario Lanza, I highly recommend it. His voice was (and still is) mesmerizing, outstanding, and as mentioned
before, the best Opera singer alive or dead today. I have yet to see any of his movies (The Great Caruso was defined as his best.) I would love
to see his movies, as I've already stocked up on a lot of his music. We will see more of his albums reviewed here on this site in the future.
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