On the great Mario Del Monaco's birthday on 7/27 (1915), here, in outline form, are some recollections:


1.November 1951.My first opera.EXPENSIVE orchestra seat at 7.50. I remember very little, except the curtain opened, and a guy with WHITE TEETH came forward..First singer in my LIFE!


2. Oct.31, 1956  Callas debut.(bad!).  Act two (in those days in was act 4) he sings one low-lying line in the duet: "No,si vil non sono!"  I swear to this day it seemed he was singing that "innocent" line in my poor EAR, but one night he did say "Hello,boys" when he came out the stage door in my poor EAR again!


3. A friend supered in Otello.In act three he scared everyone with "Anima mia, ti malediiiico!" My friend's poor EAR!!!!!!!


4.Samson et Delilah 1958 matinee.(Rise and Mario looked even better than Vic and Hedy).End act 2...."No,I sing "TRAHISON" not off stage." (In his mind!)  It is a matinee....He ran out of the tent.....remember it was a BROADCAST!!! and sang it in front of the stage!  You big HAM!!!!  (Grazie a Dio!!)


5. Hard for him to sing over the passaggio with that voice..(Celeste AidOOOO) on F....but tried to sing piano and with Zinka did sing high B flat pp with her at end of Aida. He apologized once to Magda in Francesca rehearsal when he entered too LOUD...but at least he was aware of his shortcomings.


6. As years passed, the middle became "white," especially after his motorcycle accident, but last video is 1976 and the top remained great..but his "Riders to the sky" is disaster...and his live Fedora entrance,before the aria,  has someone saying something like "OI VEY," or something..I think it might be "Ma no!!!!! (It was with Magda.)


7. He got very sick, and was on Dialysis for a few years,until a rather early death..in his 60's.


8. He gave 1000% every night..Never faked it.....we adored him so much! When he came down those stairs in act one Chenier (our first Chenier..we sneaked in to dress rehearsal) and full voice started the Improvisso..we went nuts!


9. Gala once around 1960...Act One Butterfly..Why the white hair? Pinkerton didn't retire!


10. Called Franco a "goat" but they later made up. (It's in the Corelli book.)


11. He hardly did Manrico..but at my first Trovatore, he sang it. I saw him 40 times..Never will forget him.God Bless!!!!

 

Some of the lines are cut off..I just could not fit it all, but you get the idea....

Category:general -- posted at: 12:22am EDT


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