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Baskerville Publishers is pleased to announce the release of 8 Voices: Contemporary Poetry of the American Southwest.
Eight poets were selected whose work clearly demonstrates that the contemporary poetry of the southwest moves far beyond the “regional,” dealing with the universal themes of all good poetry, while not losing a sense of place. Tom Sleigh writes of the book, “…these poems are wonderfully idiosyncratic voices as cosmopolitan as they are rooted in what Seamus Heaney once called ‘the music of what happens’… The region that unites them is the republic of memorable speech.”
Dan Williams, Director of the TCU Press, who was the editor of 8 Voices, concludes his introduction, “I have gained much becoming acquainted with the poems included in this volume, and I feel privileged to have read and selected them. I believe anyone who picks up this volume will feel the same.”
Baskerville Publishers’ books have won two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. We published the first book in English on the life of Joseph Brodsky, and brought Australian classical poet Stephen Edgar’s poetry to the attention of discriminating American readers. We are proud to add 8 Voices to this distinguished list.
When a volume of poetry that purported to show the wide range and depth of contemporary Southwestern poetry was proposed, I was happy to participate as editor. Though some poets of the region focus on artifacts and history of the southwest, many do not. It was my task to select 15 poems from each poet out of half a hundred which had been submitted. We wanted a selection which would show the broad range referenced above.
When reading their submissions, I experienced some of those powerful moments Dickinson defined as poetry. I felt deeply moved, even shaken as though the top of my head had been taken off. At times so powerfully moved that I was in two places at one time, both in my comfortable chair, and in a strange, striking place where the poet had transported me. To read this poetry is to be constantly shifted from the ordinary into the extraordinary.
This volume of poetry challenges the common expectations of many readers, as it demonstrates definitively that there is more to Southwestern poetry than wild horses, branding irons, arrowheads, and creaking windmills. I feel privileged to have read and lived with these poems during this process. I have gained much. And I believe that anyone who picks up the volume will feel the same.
Though the poets in this book all hail from the southwest, what you’ll hear in these poems are wonderfully idiosyncratic voices as cosmopolitan as they are rooted in what Seamus Heaney once called “the music of what happens.” The poems are cleanly written, replete with what Robert Frost called “a good look, and a good listen.” The region that unites them is the republic of memorable speech.
— Tom Sleigh, Senior Poet and Distinguished Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY)
These eight distinguished southwestern poets have important things to say, and they say them extraordinarily well. Here are poems about landscapes both familiar and foreign, childhood, young (and old) love, friendship, regret, loss, old age, sickness, and death, as well as about the miracle of poetry itself… poems you will want to read, and reread, savoring them for years to come.
— Michael McGaha, Yale B. and Lucille D. Griffith Professor of Modern Languages (Emeritus), Pomona College
The poets of 8 Voices transform the details encountered in everyday life into playful poetic landscapes that vibrate with a refreshing sense of humor. Playfulness in the juxtaposition of incongruous objects and situations create soundscapes that transfer the familiar into the charm of the unfamiliar and mysterious. These poets recreate the pulse of the earth as they live inside the movements of words.
— Rainer Schulte, Professor of Humanities & Fine Arts, UT Dallas, Director of the Center for Translation Studies, and Editor of Translation Review
6 x 9 hardcover, 146 pages, ISBN: 978-1880909-79-9
Stephen Edgar is well known as a poet in his home country of Australia. He has published seven collections of poetry, for which he has won several prestigious awards, yet he is hardly known outside his country. The commercial difficulty of exporting books of poetry (read: no profit margin) has precluded Americans and Europeans from reading him except in magazine reviews. This book intends to correct that deficit by presenting new poetry and selections from his earlier work, all previously unavailable in the United States or Europe.
Born in Sydney, Stephen Edgar has also lived in London and Tasmania, where he studied Classics and Librarianship before returning to Sydney in 2005. Clive James was so taken with Edgar’s poetry that he flew to Australia to meet him for lunch and their conversation continued into the dusk. It is unusual for a single poem to receive an analytical treatment in a monthly poetry magazine, yet James wrote such an essay in POETRY in January of 2009 on the poem “Man on the Moon” (included in this book). James says at the end of the article, “…his work participates in a new classicism, fit to incorporate in the modern world, in which it deserves a high place. Almost any of his poems will tell us that on a first reading. The second reading tells us why we should try to tell everyone else.”
Baskerville Publishers’ books have won two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. We published the first book in English on the life of Joseph Brodsky, and we are equally proud to bring Stephen Edgar’s poetry to the attention of discriminating American readers (and, hopefully, soon to those across the pond). Please note that we have retained all Australian usages.
Edgar is a consummate craftsman, a new classicist. As Clive James said, “Models of plain speech even at their most eloquent, his poems are more sheerly beautiful from moment to moment than those of any other modern poet I can think of.”
This is magisterial poetry.
“I can’t think of anyone writing poetry in English, at the moment or recently, who renders the natural world with the voluptuous precision of Stephen Edgar. These are poems of elegance and depth.” — August Kleinzahler
“I’d think that Edgar must be on the short list of the best living practitioners of verse, rhymed or blank. His remarkable poems have been a highly rewarding discovery for me.” — Joshua Mehigan
“…he achieves, overall, a supple classicism that earns him a place next to the best twentieth-century American formalists.” — D.H. Tracy
5.5 x 8.5 hardcover, 112 pages, available April 2012 from Baskerville Publishers.
Ludmila Shtern (Leaving Leningrad, Brandeis Univ. Press, 2001) has written the first memoir of the great Russian poet, Joseph Brodsky (Iosif Brodsky). It has been published to acclaim in Russia (now in its third printing), and is now translated into English for the first time. Shtern was a family friend of Brodsky and part of the circle of friends to whom Brodsky read his first poems.
Ludmila Shtern’s home was a gathering place for young Russian artists and poets. Her mother was a famous actress (and poet), her father a respected legal scholar and historian. Joseph Brodsky’s close friends at the time were Yevgeny Rein, Anatoly Naiman and Dmitry Bobyshev (“Akhmatova’s orphans”) and Akhmatova herself was known to the group and figures prominently in Shtern’s narrative of the Russian years. (Rein is today perhaps the preeminent Russian poet.)
Ludmila Shtern’s memoir of Joseph Brodsky can thus be called, without exaggeration, “Russian literary history in the making.” Parallels in European and American literary history, where artists lived together, worked together, encouraged and influenced each other, would be the expatriate community in France after World War One and the “Beats” in New York City, Denver and San Francisco in the 1950s.
Brodsky emigrated ahead of Shtern but their special friendship resumed when she came to the United States. Nothing in Brodsky’s entire poetic output escaped Ludmila’s eye. Brodsky frequently consulted her while his poems were being written. She knows all his poetry by heart.
Much of the original poetry in Ludmila Shtern’s book had not been translated before, and some of it had never been published even in Russian. In addition there are new translations of poems produced by members of Joseph Brodsky’s inner circle. The poetry has been chosen to elucidate personal relationships and social history; much of it is in a comic vein, since all of these writers not only dedicated poems to each other but also needled each other with occasional verse. Sometimes silly, sometimes inspired, it is poetry that deserves to live, nevertheless, and Shtern’s memoir will ensure that it does.
The book is illustrated with pictures of Brodsky and his friends, including Baryshnikov and Rein. Poems that were translated by Brodsky himself haven’t been changed, of course.
Joseph Brodsky was a difficult man. He had many friends and many enemies, but perhaps more than anyone Ludmila Shtern was able, always, to tell him exactly what she thought without jeopardizing her friendship with the poet or diminishing his respect for her judgment. Readers of her book will see why.
“In this charming memoir, Shtern not only brings the famous poet Joseph Brodsky to life, but illuminates for an American audience the experiences of an entire generation of Russian intelligentsia.” – Publishers Weekly, Sept. 2004
“A warm, ebullient memoir, which focuses on her thirty-five years of close friendship with the great poet Joseph Brodsky.” – Francine du Plessix Gray
368 pages with 48 pages of photos, 6 x 9 hardcover
Rilke said, “We should try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.” Moore has followed Rilke’s dictum to the far reaches of love, life, death, and art. If in the search he found no facile answers, he did find beauty and, on occasion, affirmation and joy.
Poems are not statements. But they are a form of thinking – a form akin to music, to mathematics in its higher expressions. Moore’s philosophical training in Heidegger and Nietzsche is evident in these intensely woven and complicated poems. Yet the lyricism that reveals his love of music and poetry is present on every page of Alterity. All the senses are engaged by this finely executed work.
5.5 x 8.5 hardcover, 96 pages
Published by Current Press (Distributed by Baskerville Publishers)
“With richly textured and intricately musical poems, Ron Moore speaks to us, in a voice entirely his own, on a dazzling variety of subjects. Here is a poet worth our full attention and honor.” – George Garrett, Days of our Lives Lie in Fragments
“…startlingly beautiful… [Moore] understands the world to be a flux of atoms in which love and art, if one is very lucky, may sometimes find a place.” – Tito Perdue, “America’s Lost Literary Genius,” New York Press, 2002
A successful career as a health care executive and philanthropist allowed Ron Moore a turn toward a life of adventure, human rights advocacy, and creativity. He has traveled in over 50 countries and climbed on all seven continents. He served on the Executive Director’s Leadership Council of Amnesty International and is on the Partners’ Council of the International Campaign for Tibet. He composed a CD of art songs, Last Light. Alterity is his first book of poetry.
George London combined a great voice, superb musicianship, and a commanding stage presence as few singers ever have. Written by his wife, Nora London, this new biography chronicles the life of a talented, driven man who fell in love with opera as a boy, and achieved greatness not only in America, but also all over the world. Yet the book does not shy away from the difficulties of his youth, the troubles with his voice that ended his singing career prematurely, nor his tragic last years.
When George London could no longer sing, he committed himself with the same complete devotion to involvement with several opera organizations. In particular, remembering his own early struggles, he instituted grant programs that assisted promising singers who continue to grace the stages of the most important opera houses. This is the story of an exemplary life and career well told by the person who knew him best.
Number Nine in Baskerville’s Great Voices series, the book includes a music CD with rare live recordings of George London. In addition there are 24 pages of photographs, many previously unseen. The chronology and discography are definitive and there is an index of names.
6×9 hardcover, 225 pages + Discography + 24 pages of photos
Includes a music CD featuring rare recordings of live performances
“George London’s career was indeed meteoric and deservedly so.” – from the introduction by H. C. Robbins Landon
“…The greatest singing actor of our time.” – Virgil Thompson
Nora London is the president of the George London Foundation for Singers, which gives annual awards in excess of $50,000 to opera singers in the early stages of their careers. She is honorary president of the George London – Stiftung, a Viennese Foundation that helps young singers. She has written many articles about London’s performances, and about opera competitions and career development for singers. This is her second book.
Marilyn Horne evokes awe with her range of characterization (extensive, as our photos will testify), and her stylistic fluency in operas by composers as different as Handel and Leoncavallo, Rossini and Verdi, Vivaldi and Berg (as revealed by her discography and the attached CD). Her life story shows us the artist and teacher, mother and friend, in words that are frequently generous, but sometimes harsh, in keeping with the unabashed honesty that is one of her outstanding personal qualities.
As a singer, Horne achieved great consistency without mechanicalness, great diversity without superficiality, and she was one of few singers ever who could be both charmingly unaffected and magisterial — in the course of an operatic evening or just an aria. As a singer, then, it sometimes appeared that there was nothing she couldn’t do. As a mother, however, or as a wife, or as a woman who could be swept off her feet, or troubled by an unkind word, Horne was sometimes fragile or disconsolate and emotionally quite distant from her public persona as a confident performer fearlessly taking on new challenges.
In fact “General Horne,” as she came to be called for her many trouser roles, spent lots of time in the trenches. One senses that she gave just as generously of her heart to the people she encountered there as she did of her talent to those who paid to hear her sing. So let the song continue, and the giving, and the sharing. The reader rallies to the boldness and cheerfulness in Marilyn’s story.
Horne’s Bradford, PA, origins are discussed in the book, along with the influence of her Dutch-American parents, her years in California as a teenager and student, and her career, which has led Terence McNally, in the foreward, to affirm her designation as “the greatest singer in the world.”
“…Enjoy these eye-dropper servings of the Horne persona. What’s even better, this incarnation of the book contains a CD of private Horne tapes, including lots of atypical repertoire from the early years of heart-stopping vocal opulence.” – Opera News, July 2004
“This is quite a book; a gutsy, earthy, direct, passionate testament of an artist’s love for her art and her life.” – Schuyler Chapin, former General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera
Journalist Jane Scovell has published articles in a great many magazines and major dailies, including the New York Times and the Boston Globe. She has collaborated with celebrities such asElizabeth Taylor, Ginger Rogers, Maureen Stapleton and Kitty Dukakis and had a recent success with a biography of Oona O’Neill Chaplin. She has also been a teacher of college courses in opera and film.
The eighth title in Baskerville’s Great Voices series, this autobiography explores Marilyn Horne’s life and her great operatic achievements with her characteristic candor, power, and grace.
243 pages + discography + 80 pages of photos, 6 x 9 hardcover
Includes a music CD featuring 18 rare, live recordings
The year 1924 was a happy one for lovers of Wagner: The Bayreuth Festivals reopened (after ten years of silence) and the best teachers and artists of the time assembled to help Siegfried Wagner realize his father’s intentions. The festivals from 1924 to 1931 also marked the early dominance of the man critic Paul Hume called, “not the world’s greatest Wagner tenor; the only one!”
Almost eighty years later, Melchior’s vocal achievements, still unequaled, seem to have gone beyond what is humanly possible. His son Ib, drawing from his life experience and sensitively interpreting the papers his father left, reveals to us a man who was larger than life in still another way — a man as good as he was great.
Great Voices Series Special Edition
Includes never before published photographs, annotated index, and music CD
284 pages, 7.5×10 hardcover
“This is a must book, not only for those of us who hold a special place in our soul for the uniquely gifted Danish tenor, but also for all those interested in Wagner, his music and its performances.” – Fasolt, June 2003
“…A captivatingly illustrated and told masterpiece of music lore steeped in history and peppered with unforgettable anecdotes. A stirring tribute by a son to his father.”– Leo A. Handel, BIEN review May 2003
Ib Melchior, the son of the late Wagnerian tenor, Lauritz Melchior, lives in the Hollywood hills with his wife Cleo Baldon, the prominent designer, and has two sons. As a director, Melchior has won several national awards for television and documentary film short subjects that he wrote, directed and produced. He is the author of best selling critically acclaimed novels based his experiences as a CIC agent: Order of Battle, Sleeper Agent,The Haigerloch Project, The Watchdogs of Abaddon and The Marcus Device, all published by Harper & Row.
Risë Stevens was a force of nature on the stage. From her humble beginnings in New York, Stevens’ talent, determination and heart helped her rise up to perform on the greatest stages all over the world. Whether she was on the radio, television, the silver screen, or stunning audiences at the Met, her vocal presence was unforgettable. In Carmen, Risë Stevens ascended to the level of legendary performers.
In this tenth addition to our Great Voices series, the life and career of another of opera’s great talents, Risë Stevens, is chronicled to be shared with all. Stevens was a star who will always be one of our “great voices.” The author, John Pennino, has taken special care to document her amazing life, struggles and achievements. Included in this biography are 48 pages of photographs, a detailed chronology, discography, and a music CD featuring rare recordings.
6×9 hardcover, 342 pages + dDiscography + 48 pages of photos
Includes a music CD featuring rare recordings of live performances
“Readers of Risë’s biography can be assured that the account they are about to enjoy will be accurate, well-documented, perceptive and entertaining.” – Astrid Varnay
“She did not merely step into the part and give a carbon copy of hundreds of Carmens before her. She gave all parts of it her careful consideration.” – Jo Mottola
Opera has been a lifelong interest for John Pennino. With professional musicians in his family, John was surrounded by the classics both symphonic and operatic. Music literature was plentiful at his home, with Pennino’s father being an amateur pianist. He was taken to his first “live” opera as a child – Carmen with Risë Stevens. John Pennino continues to live and work in New York City.
The passing of the great soprano, Renata Tebaldi, has occasioned the release of an enhanced edition of her biography. Additional information about her life, letters, reminiscences by many of her colleagues, and honors she received are included. Also of interest to collectors are 16 pages of new photographs.
Though Ms. Casanova has written an authorized biography, Renata Tebaldi is amply quoted in it being most frank about herself and her colleagues. Her essentially loving and tolerant nature provides a ready explanation for her being cast in the role of an “angel” by 1950s newspapers, where she was pitted against the “devil,” Maria Callas. Those who remember Tebaldi’s soaring, sustained pianissimi may feel her status as one of heaven’s most beloved messengers was never challenged.
Though Callas gave stunning performances, surely one of the reasons Renata Tebaldi reigned as the world’s greatest soprano for much of her thirty-year career was her ability to create characters. As she analyzes her performances many who saw her will remember the subtly shaded but authoritative way she embodied her roles, even Cio Cio San, despite her imposing height.
Along with a full accounting of the famous Tebaldi-Callas feud, this book contains warm and revealing recollections of other temperamental stars like Del Monaco and Di Stefano. A ravishingly beautiful woman, there was yet an inate dignity and warmth in Renata Tebaldi that account for the fact that she remains, some twenty years after her retirement, the best-loved of all the divas, and perhaps the closest to the standards of the Golden Age in her unforced, sweetly tragic tone, not to mention her perfect record of service to high art, unerring taste and unfeigned humility. If this book is in homage, so be it; no amount of words or awards could reciprocate the blessings that Renata Tebaldi bestowed upon the world.
“A colorful essay… Revealing accounts of matters Ms. Tebaldi has seldom discussed in public.” – Opera Canada
Number two in Baskerville’s Great Voices series, the expanded biography includes a music CD with choice recordings of Renata Tebaldi. In addition, there are 72 pages of photographs and a discography.
6×9 hardcover, 281 pages + discography + 72 pages of photos + music CD
Biography by Carlamaria Casanova, revised and expanded second edition, with reflections by Connie Mandracchia DeCaro.
Born in Monza, Italy, Carlamaria Casanova has always been part of the world of opera. In the field of music she has published Renata Tebaldi: The voice of an Angel (four reprints, translated into French, English, and Russian); Gabriella Cohen, la ballerina, il personaggio; and Cesare Bardelli, il principe dei baritone.
Following Franco Corelli’s unfortunate death, this book has been completely rewritten, revised, and expanded.
Unrivaled in his time as Caruso was before him, yet unlike his great predecessor, Franco Corelli lived an ascetic life away from the theatre, pushing himself relentlessly to gain complete mastery of his voice, again and again reaching new frontiers of technical virtuosity.
In this biography, Marina Boagno clears up the mysteries and misunderstandings that arose throughout Franco Corelli’s career, revealing much about the man along the way. This book and the record it encloses are a frank celebration of a voice that defined a period of operatic history, a voice that will always be an inspiration to people who love singing or want to sing themselves — and of a man who lived his life for art, whose example is another important aspect of his legacy.
Number five in Baskerville’s Great Voices series, the volume contains a CD with rare live recordings of Franco Corelli. In addition, there are 80 pages of photographs and a chronology and discography.
6×9 Hardcover. 306 pages + Discography + 80 pages of photos + CD
Includes an audio CD featuring rare recordings of live performances
“His voice, with that beauty and security singing the highest notes has always had a tremendous effect on me… It was such a marvelous thing. And in order to do it, a tenor with a voice so big and powerful, it means that besides having great qualities, he has worked very hard. Therefore, I have the greatest respect for him.” – MIRELLA FRENI
“He was fantastic, because in every note that he sang one heard passion and suffering, which are the same thing, because passion is full of suffering… I wish I could have seen Corelli just once on stage. When they say class, that was class. When they say voice, that was a voice.” – GRACE BUMBRY
Marina Boagno was born in the industrial city of Savona (not far from Genoa). A graduate of Genoa University in political science and history as well as a triple laureate in language, literature and poetry, she has written and published a bigrophy of Ettore Bastianini (Azzali) and is presently writing another on Nicolai Ghiaurov. In addition she has published several novels and is an English translator for Mondadori. She lives in Milan with her two grown sons.
In this must-read book, Placido Domingo and Helena Matheopoulos offer an insider’s tour of the life of the celebrated tenor, viewed through the lens of his performances.
The collaboration between an acclaimed biographer who is passionate about her subject and the great tenor, who is passionate about his art, has produced a book that instructs while it entertains. Here, Placido Domingo, the great singing actor and master musician freely shares his insights and relives the inspiration that helped him reach the top of his profession, while his biographer skillfully reconstructs the circumstances that nurtured or challenged him, adding fascinating glimpses of the important people in his life.
To launch this important book, Placido Domingo conducted a well-attended book signing at the Metropolitan Opera Bookstore on April 2, 2003.
In this book, Placido Domingo and Helena Matheopoulos explore the famous roles from the perspective of the great artist. Along the way, we gain insight into the inner workings of Domingo himself through his approach to his performances. It is a must-read for artists and performers, for lovers of the arts, and for all who see life as a challenge to be embraced.
“…A portrait of the artist in his own words, through his own portrayals of the various operatic heroes… straightforward, a chronological traversal of the tenor’s sixty-two major roles.” – Opera News, August 2003
“This book is valuable not only for today’s opera lovers but also for future generations, because in it Placido explains how he got to where he wanted to go, often step by hard-working step. At the beginning of his career people were alarmed that he seemed unable to say “no” to certain challenges. Upon retrospect, let’s be glad that he preferred “yes.” Opera has been richer for it.” – From the preface by Beverly Sills
Helena Matheopoulos is the author of Maestro: Encounters with Conductors of Today which was named Music Book of the Year by Stereo Review; Bravo: Today’s Tenors, Baritones and Basses Discuss Their Roles; Diva: Great Sopranos and Mezzos Discuss Their Art; Diva-The New Generation; The Great Tenors; and a biography of King Juan Carlos of Spain. She worked as a journalist for ten years and from 1991 to 1996 she was Artistic Consultant to the Athens Megaron and is currently Director of Vocal Projects for the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.
The sixth book in Baskerville’s Great Voices series includes a color photo insert, chronology, and complete discography.
280 pages, 6×9 hardcover, with 32 pages of photos
Biography by Helena Matheopoulos with reminiscence and analysis in the tenor’s own words.
This biography tells the story of one of the most naturally gifted singers of the 20th century, Mario Lanza. This great performer was destined to become an operatic superstar, but his involvement with Hollywood, and the resultant fame and mass adulation that followed, led him to become increasingly insecure and guilt-ridden for having prostituted his talent commercially. After his meteoric rise to stardom, Lanza ended up both ill and a virtual alcoholic, and due to medical incompetence his life came to a tragic end in a Rome clinic at the age of 38.
The book is the result of a lifetime study of Mario Lanza, and of research carried out in the US and Europe over a period of thirty years. During this time most of Lanza’s important associates, fellow artists and personalities of the film and music world were interviewed. Pulling no punches — yet eschewing the sensationalistic aspects of previous Lanza biographies — the book examines and dispels the false myths that emerged during Mario Lanza’s short but turbulent career, and which have lingered to the present day. It is the only accurate and complete biography of Lanza written to date, and will therefore be of interest not only to his admirers, but above all to everyone who desires to read a true account of the singer’s life.
Mario Lanza: An American Tragedy is the seventh title in Baskerville’s Great Voices series, chronicling the lives and work of the most accomplished singers in opera.
293 pages + discography + 125 pages of photos
Includes an exclusive music CD featuring recordings of live performances and other rarities from 1945 to 1958
“Cesari poignantly tells the tragic story of a beautiful voice… writes with great love and includes a CD of selected performances, more than 250 photographs and complete listings of Lanza’s recordings, films and other performances.” – ALA Booklist, Jan. 2004
Any book that sheds light on the phenomenon named Mario Lanza is of importance. I call Mario Lanza a phenomenon advisedly, because his place in music history has always been controversial. Let us ignore the typical Hollywood hype which was inflicted on any star performer under the old studio system. What remains to this day as the essence of his persona is, to my mind, one of the truly great natural tenor voices of the past century — a voice of beauty, passion and power! The voice communicated to millions all over the world and I venture to say that his films did more to lure the general public to the art form of operatic singing than the voice of almost any other performer before his time. Of course the cinematic medium was a prime factor in this achievement, because a film reaches so many millions. BUT, and I spell this “but” with capital letters, that is no guarantee that the public will be spellbound, because there are film performers whom the public simply ignores. There was a visceral quality to the Lanza voice which even to this day — on reviewing the old films or relistening to the old recordings—grabs one with astonishing force.
Many people in the classical music world refused to recognize him and actually belittled not only his impact on the public but his God-given voice. As I write this, I have before me the 1980 edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians. There are five entries under the name of “Lanza” — Francesco Giuseppe Lanza, a composer and singing teacher who lived from 1750 to 1812, and three of his sons, all of them composers and teachers; the fifth entry is Alcides Lanza, Argentinian composer, conductor and pianist who was born in 1928. This is merely one example of him being dismissed by the musicological fraternity. Several years ago I was interviewed on a television program that dealt with Lanza. Afterward I received letters from a number of well-meaning musicologists who took me to task for “defending Mario Lanza.” What these people didn’t recognize, or didn’t want to recognize, is that I made no references to his personal life, his behaviour or his troubles, but purely to his voice — a voice which, incidentally, not only made an impact on me, but also on many of my tenor colleagues, like Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras.
Why was there this antagonism? Was it because some people felt that success had come too easily to him — that he hadn’t “suffered” for his art — or was it jealousy that someone who wasn’t very sophisticated, academically speaking, could become such an effective “pied piper” for leading the uninitiated to the allure of the operatic voice?
As so often happens with time, attitudes change. The fact that we are still interested in his movies and recordings and that this book has been written proves that the persona of Mario Lanza has survived the test of time and that his voice remains a force of nature to this day.
“Yours is a voice such as is heard only once in a hundred years.” – Serge Koussevitzky
“You have the greatest given throat ever heard in a young man.” – Tito Schipa
“Mario Lanza has the greatest singing instrument ever bestowed on a human being.” –George London
“Mario could have sung in any opera house in the world and his career could have been sensational.” – Dorothy Kirsten
“I don’t think he realised how good he was.” – Giuseppe Di Stefano
“He had everything that one needs- the voice, the temperament, perfect diction.” – Licia Albanese
“Lanza has the finest natural tenor voice I’ve ever heard.” – Renata Tebaldi
“In fifty years people will recognise Lanza for the great artist he is.” – Lawrence Tibbett (in 1950)
“His voice is phenomenal.” – Helen Traubel
“Mario Lanza’s singing was both convincing and full of heart.” – Franco Corelli
“He is Caruso’s successor.” – Maria Callas
“He had a voice of enormous dramatic impact.” – Placido Domingo
“His magnificent voice enriched our lives and introduced us to a wide spectrum of classical and popular music.” – José Carreras
“He had a fantastic voice–not just wonderful–a fantastic voice.” – Luciano Pavarotti
“We were both surprised by the size of the voice–we were also impressed by Lanza’s innate musicality. No doubt he could have had an outstanding operatic career.” – Richard Bonynge and Joan Sutherland
Armando Cesari was born in Venice, Italy. After migrating to Australia and completing his senior studies Mr. Cesari studied classical singing and voice production and subsequently sang in a number of concerts in Australia.
Mr. Cesari has made a lifelong study of the career of Mario Lanza and is considered a leading authority on the singer. He has contributed to a number of radio and television programs and has written articles on Lanza as well as various opera singers.
REVISED SECOND EDITION NOW IN STOCK!
Buy now at 10% off the $39.95 cover price.
From Colby, Kansas, where a coach once tried to convince his father that his son should concentrate on sports, Samuel Ramey found his way to Grand Opera. Starting out in secondary roles at the New York City Opera Company, Samuel Ramey rose from its ranks and went on to stardom in the major opera houses of the world. He dominated the European stages with his unique blend of musicality, masculinity, and dramatic virtuosity.
Here, at last, was a bass with the range and versatility to sing everything from Baroque operas to Broadway melodies. Most amazing of all was his vocal agility in the heart-stopping bel canto repertoire. Despite worldwide fame, Sam Ramey has never changed: He remains a warm, well-grounded Midwesterner.
Although he reached superstar status abroad, it took more than a decade for the Metropolitan Opera to open its doors to him. Their David-and-Goliath standoff is only a part of the engrossing and entertaining saga of a beloved American singer.
Number eleven in Baskerville’s Great Voices series, chronicling the lives and work of the most accomplished singers in opera, the book includes a music CD with recordings of Ramey. In addition there are 80 pages of photographs, and an intriguing “Sound Bites” section by Samuel Ramey himself. The chronology and discography are definitive and there is an index of names.
6×9 Hardcover: 278 pages + Discography + 80 pages of photos + music CD
“…It is my opinion that Assur’s mad scene, which runs nearly twenty-five minutes, contains the opera’s greatest music. Everything is packed into it, including exciting coloratura, dramatic recitative, and gorgeous cantilena. I loved the way Sam did it. I loved it so much that whenever we performed Semiramide, I would stand in the wings during his mad scene just to hear him.” – From the preface by Marilyn Horne
Jane Scovell has co-authored books with Marilyn Horne, Elizabeth Taylor, Ginger Rogers, Maureen Stapleton and Kitty Dukakis. She is the author of Oona: Living in the Shadows, a biography of Oona O’Neill Chaplin.