Mario Del Monaco

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Mario Del Monaco (July 27, 1915 - July 16, 1982) was an Italian tenor, particularly associated with Italian heroic roles, notably Otello. One of the leading "tenore di forza" (dramatic tenor) of the 1950s, he possessed a voice of considerable range and power with a thrilling upper register.

Life and career[change | edit source]

Born in Florence, Italy, he studied in Pesaro with Melocchi but was mostly self-taught. He began his operatic career in Pesero in 1940, as Turriddu in Cavalleria rusticana. He then sang widely in Italy and made his debut at La Scala in Milan in 1943, as Rodolfo in La bohème. After the war, he began to appear outside Italy, Barcelona, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, etc. He first sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1950, as des Grieux in Manon Lescaut.

Although mostly associated with the Italian repertoire (Ernani, Il trovatore, La forza del destino, Aida, Andrea Chénier, Tosca, La fanciulla del West, Turandot, etc.), he also enjoyed considerable success as Don José in Carmen and Samson in Samson et Dalila. He left several complete opera recordings, often with soprano Renata Tebaldi.

He was married with soprano Rina Filippini, who was also his vocal coach. Their son, Giancarlo (b. 1945), is an operatic stage director. Del Monaco died in Mestre, near Venice, at the age of 67.

Sources[change | edit source]

  • Le guide de l'opéra, Roland Mancini & Jean-Jacques Rouveroux, Fayard, 1986.