Welcome to The Opera Club de Paris Mario Lanza.
This is for all the readers who do us the honour of coming
on our web site and who write to us messages
of encouragement and appreciation
We cannot answer to all of you, but we want you to know that we are deeply moved by your little notes and emails. It is wonderful to realize that in our new small world, so many people who don’t know each other and probably will never see each other, can share the same emotions hearing the simple voice of a young man who passed away more than fifty years ago.
It is not simply a matter of singing opera or just singing beautifully melodies of all kinds. Its more complicated. Lanza is a challenge by his voice, his style of life, generosity, his wrongs and weaknesses, in a word his person.
Try to explain this !
Is it merely music ? It probably is, but the mystery of music is only part of the answer (as far as we can say that mystery is an anwer…).
In the case of Mario Lanza, as for all singers, the mystery lies in the human voice…which is a mystery by itself as Alfredo Kraus once put it in one of his recorded remarkable master classes.
After all the developments on what produces the sound, the air vibrations, the way it is produced, the configuration of the body of the singer, his face, mouth, throat muscles, the way he or she opens the mouth, the technique, how to pronounce the o, (« Don’t Say TOsca on the high notes, say TAsca, it twill sound like TOsca ! Don’t forget the i, the most perfect voyel for the singer ! See the little baby crying, he won’t be tired of crying, his parents will, but not him ! Know why ? Because he breathes naturally by his belly and not by his lungs, he uses the diaphragm to throw the air like a spring or a trampolin ! That’s the way you should sing ! » etc…) ; all this said, and brilliantly and in a funny charming way, with Kraus’s own voice giving the example of the baby crying…, may be you can sing better, understand how to sing effortless etc….
But the mystery will remain untouched : what makes the difference of the sound between, say Gigli and Caruso or Richard Tucker and Lauri-Volpi or Domingo, Pavarotti, Lanza, to name but a few ? The body and the technique, of course !
Of course, but only to a certain point. Because there is more to it.
As an example, you can see on the internet Joan Sutherland and her husband Richard Bonynge receiving their friends Luciano Pavarotti and Marylin Horne in the eighties at their house in Australia, I presume, discussing about singing, teaching, legato etc.. (by the way, a pure delight !) and Luciano Pavarotti sings a note ans says : « Not bad, but not so elegant. Now listen to this ! » And here comes the same note, not only good but beautiful, different, special. He says : « Took me ten years to make that sound ! ». So technique, work and efforts of all sorts are necessary, no doubt ! But again, to a certain point !
What comes next, for me ? Musicality, inner musicality of the singer, no matter if he is a trained and educated musician or a « natural » musician, someone who does not need to be taught this inner sens of beauty and artistry which goes beyond art.
Now, after musicality, comes the heart of the heart.
What do you say about a singer who stops in a church on his way to the studios, to pray before recording prayers or songs of spirituality ?
It is more than rare, it is extraordinary. (Maybe with the exceptions of jewish cantors, like Tucker or Merrill or the unfortunate Josef Schmidt). But, again, cantors are necessarily linked to the synagogue, to the holy texts. Mario Lanza, the man who prayed in a church before recording, certainly was not a « church singer », but he was, in some way, and given his background, full of natural spirituality : you feel that, you hear that when he sings « The Lord’s Prayer » for example, or « I’ll walk with God ».
This only means that singing was not for him only a matter of singing or of « entertainment » and that the main goal for him was « expression », emotion, the meaning of the words mixed with the miracle of music, poetry which is already music before music, since the meaning and the beauty of the words are what ditinguishes us from the other animals : elaborate langage and humour.
See his choice of Gabriele d’Annunzio’s poems , music by Tosti.
And now, a short anecdote as a conclusion : an israeli orchestra director (born in Argentina) told me a few years ago, when I asked him if he knew Mario Lanza, these few words in spanish : « Mario Lanza cantaba con su neshama », « Mario Lanza sang with his soul » (neshama is, among other hebrew words, the most mystical word for « soul », meaning the sparkle of divinity in each human being.
For me, this moving answer said it all : some rare persons in our world can express this part of themselves, (or should I say, this part of an upper world ?).
Mario Lanza, a simple young man, was one of them.
Thank you again for reading us. We’ll keep in touch from time to time through little chats like those few lines !
Our website is under renovation to include progressively
an English version
Our friends from the United States, England, Germany, New Zeland, Australia, and all opera lovers from all over the world could send contributions and some have already agreed.
In the meantime, we have some articles in English.
We also let know that we have written the first biography of Mario Lanza in French and we wish to have it translated in English.
The book is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend, Damon Lanza, who was so thrilled and impatient to see our project achieved.
In the beginning of 2010, we have published a 24 number CD of Mario Lanza as a « Tribute for the 50th Anniversary » of his passing in Rome, october 7, 1959.
The CD is not for sale and has been reserved for the members of the Opera Club de Paris Mario Lanza and was issued by us with the help of Malibran Music, a french opera and classical music editor (see their website at the same name).
Welcome again in the Lanza family, and start reading !
Marcel Azencot and Alain Fauquier