|From that biography:|
"He was in truth as insecure as it is possible for a human being to be. He knew that God had intended him to be a great operatic singer. [...] Had he been already a leading tenor, if not the leading tenor at the Met, and come to Hollywood in between seasons to make a picture, he would have had the Met as his home."
Indeed, Edward Johnson, during the last four years of his tenure as General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, had repeatedly invited the tenor to join the Met. By his own admission "flabbergasted" by Johnson's offers, Lanza nevertheless declined them, feeling that he was not yet ready for such a challenge. Meanwhile, other leading opera houses approached him. In 1950 Victor De Sabata visited Los Angeles expressly to invite Lanza to open the 1950/51 season at La Scala in Andrea Chenier – a role that the tenor knew and for which he felt a great affinity. Although extremely flattered by the offer, Lanza declined, saying, "The invitation to there is a frightening compliment. [But] I want to go to Italy and start, not at La Scala, but in the smaller opera houses first, singing in a variety of roles to opera addicts. [...] I should work up in opera, and then I will feel qualified to say yes to the invitations from the great opera houses."
Non-Objectivists are often "flabbergasted" by the notion of pride as one of the supreme virtues - and of humility as, by the standard of life qua man, a literally deadly sin. I've been told, "humility won't kill you." But Mario Lanza's humility did kill him. He was literally destroyed by his own lack of pride.
(Edited by Adam Reed on 10/09, 12:19pm)