“I was a small boy of seven, growing up in Barcelona, when I first discovered Mario Lanza through his remarkable film The Great Caruso.
That wonderful voice and the charismatic appeal of his personality had a profound effect on my life and I decided there and then that I too would one day sing the great operatic roles so persuasively portrayed on the screen by the young American tenor.
Mario Lanza influenced a whole generation of singers through that one film. His dramatic, expansive singing style and larger-than life temperament helped make him the most talked about tenor since Caruso, an artist with whom he was closely associated throughout his career.
Like Caruso before him, he was able to interest the most casual listener in the delights and joys of grand opera and his recording of arias from the Caruso film became the first operatic collection in history to sell over one million copies.
The Great Caruso: Mario Lanza singing the charming aria M’appari tutt’ amor from Martha by Friedrich Von Flotow.
To achieve all that by the age of thirsty, with only two stages performances of Madame Butterfly to his credit, was an astonishing feat in itself and pointed reminder to his critics who felt he was shortchanging a God-given talent.
To millions of people the world over, myself included, his magnificent voice enriched our lives and introduced us to a wide spectrum of classical and popular music through films and recordings. That in itself is surely a wonderful legacy for any artist to be remembered by. I am so greatly in debt that I am delighted to be able to offer this modest “tribute” in part of repayment.”
The Lanza Legend Newsletter n°8, page 11, Spring 1999
Read: Review of Lanza Tribute