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Be My Love - A Tribute To Mario Lanza

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 18, 2012
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Product Description

Blessed with a golden-age voice (The Sunday Times) that routinely inspires comparisons with legendary singers from earlier eras, Joseph Calleja follows the success of The Maltese Tenor with a tribute to one of the most popular tenors of all time; the unique star of the Hollywood musical Mario Lanza

This is an album that Joseph Calleja has always wanted to record. As a young boy in Malta he saw Lanza in the cult film The Great Caruso and was so captivated that he gave up his predilection for Metallica and Iron Maiden, and followed his dream to become an opera singer

Born in America to Italian parents, Mario Lanza was an International screen idol and recording star with a fan base to rival Elvis Presley. The album includes all the Lanza evergreens including Be My Love (from The Toast of New Orleans) and You ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel) as well as opera arias made famous by his movie performances, including Addio alla Madre (Cavalleria rusticana) and Nessun Dorma

Bags of elegance, passion and charm (The Guardian)

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Bags of elegance, passion and charm --The Guardian
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Steven Mecurio
  • Composer: Nicholas Brodszky, Agustín Lara, Pietro Garinei, Irving Aaaronson, Gioachino Rossini, et al.
  • Audio CD (September 18, 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca Records
  • ASIN: B008C3AO4E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,906 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shaun Greenleaf on October 1, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First, a frank admission: I am not a Mario Lanza fan. I'm a "serious" opera collector. But I have enjoyed many MGM musicals (and films with significant musical content) and while I don't mistake them for Great Art, they are Art all the same, and some of them are very entertaining. And very entertaining is what this recital certainly is, no matter your feelings about Mr. Lanza, with whom all the material included is associated, at least by his legion of fans. Among them is the singer here, the tremendously talented and accomplished tenor Joseph Calleja. Mr. Calleja is at little disadvantage singing in English, which keeps the disc from tipping too far over into camp, although camp it definitely is: the songs are from frankly campy films, and no less enjoyable for that, as long as that's what you've signed on to listen to. Beautifully researched and prepared camp, with gloriously idiomatic orchestrations and arrangements and a tenor who is (heresy to True Believers) a much better singer than Mr. Lanza. But I sincerely doubt that Mr. Calleja would agree on that point, his tribute is sincere and heart-felt, and, like many important tenors including Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti to name only the most obvious, he claims to have been directly inspired by Lanza's film work. There are a few opera arias, performed with distinction and worthy to set beside practically any tenor's on record, but the bulk of the disc is "light classical" a genre very much out of style now, and already out of fashion for a long while. This material is better served here than on almost any recital I can think of, beautifully prepared and produced. Calleja's already brilliant star will rise higher because of it, and we can hope that some listeners will come to opera because of it, as Mr.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Joseph Calleja, the Maltese tenor who is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after tenors for the Italian repertoire in opera, has a passion for Mario Lanza, that American born Italian tenor who starred in many major musical motion pictures. Lanza had a brief career, appearing in both opera and in the films as a dashingly handsome matinee idol. He died at age 38 apparently due to compiications following a weight loss procedure (he was addicted to both overeating and to alcohol). Lanza's short career still is lauded by such great tenors as Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. According to the package insert, `This is an album that Joseph Calleja has always wanted to record. As a young boy in Malta he saw Lanza in the cult film The Great Caruso and was so captivated that he gave up his predilection for Metallica and Iron Maiden, and followed his dream to become an opera singer.'

Calleja, here joined with Steven Mercurio conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra and New London Singers, mixes arias from Italian opera as well as the film favorites and musical stage pieces for which Lanza was best known. Calleja is in fine voice here and his heavily accented English only adds to the beauty of his homage recording. AS one critic sates, `At a time when fans and critics complain about the homogenous sound of classical music performances -- from soloists to symphony orchestras -- tenor Joseph Calleja stands out brilliantly. With its flickering vibrato, aristocratic phrasing and heavenly soft notes, his old-school style of singing was modeled after pre-WWI tenors like Tito Schipa and Alessandro Bonci. At 33, Calleja is young by operatic standards, and in The Maltese Tenor, it's fascinating to chart the vocal changes.
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Format: Audio CD
Mr. Calleja's enthusiasm and reverence for Lanza (as described in the notes for this recording) are quite amazing. So for him this is a serious effort. Yes, he sings better than Lanza from some standpoints -- like he stays in tune better than Lanza who was inclined to go sharp too many times. However, Calleja doesn't have quite the chest voice of Mr. Lanza. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful disc of homage.

I was 7 years old when my father brought home the first LP's to play on his converted radio/phonograph. The LP was new to consumers. The first of these LP's was the soundtrack to the Great Caruso. We also went to the local drive-in movie to see that movie. Riding in the car and hearing "Be My Love" on the radio -- over and over again -- planted seeds in me to love opera and the music of tenors which has grown to the present day. My dad, however, was on the Lanza bandwagon but that was as far as his interest in opera took him.

So now I drive my own car down the road listening to Mr. Calleja sing Be My Love and have this huge deja vu experience remembering those Sunday drives 60 years ago -- and the sound is SO much better !! But as I drive along musing about those way-too-sweet movie musicals, I do wonder if somebody should not snag Mr. Calleja to portray a more accurate movie biopic of Lanza than Lanza was allowed to make about Caruso. Musically, Mr. Calleja certainly has the chops. With the departure of Pavarotti and the winding down of the Domingo and Carreras careers, it is wonderful to realize that tenors of Mr. Calleja's stature are coming along to keep it all going.

Meanwhile, this disc will be first in choice for Sunday drive listening for months to come.
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