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Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 5:08amSanction this postReply
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James, this was beautifully done.  What a shame that this is not his true story.  You took me back to Linz's lecture for a moment, and I thank you for evoking a beautiful memory.



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Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 5:48amSanction this postReply
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James,

Thank you for this. If only it was the way it had been...

MH




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Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 8:14amSanction this postReply
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Beautiful James. I was first introduced to Lanza as a boy. In bed for the night, I would hear that VOICE (oh that voice that today I dare not listen to in public for fear of tears coming fast), swirling down the hallway from the living room.

Once, I crept out of bed and found my Father, in tipsy reverie, sitting on the floor in front of the record player, thumbing through his eclectic collection. I went back to bed that night understanding on some level that he would not want to be disturbed, that this was some private joy ( and perhaps some secret pain), and, was his to experience alone. On many a night, I fell into sweet sleep to the VOICE, in gratitude.

John





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Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 3:56pmSanction this postReply
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Thank you, James.  How terrific to celebrate the life of a man, as we mark the anniversary of his death.



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Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 7:57pmSanction this postReply
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James: Can anyone with a beating heart fail to be moved by this glorious piece of wish fulfilment? What a soaring imagination you have, and what a generous spirit you reveal yet again. I'm proud to number you among my friends.

As a companion piece to James' stunning would-be obituary, I offer my own bio of Lanza's extraordinary life here: http://www.grandi-tenori.com/tenors/lanza/. The feature includes photos and two downloadable recordings of Lanza at the peak of his powers.     




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Friday, October 8, 2004 - 8:24pmSanction this postReply
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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)




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Saturday, October 9, 2004 - 9:52amSanction this postReply
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Adam, I had never thought of things quite as you state them above, but I think you analysis is right on target.



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Saturday, October 9, 2004 - 7:11pmSanction this postReply
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Adam wrote:
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.


Interesting, Adam. George London alluded to the same thing when he said that,"If Mario Lanza had been able to crawl out of his skin and actually listen to his own voice, he might have lived his entire life differently." 

But, actually, I don't think it was as simple as that. I think there were often times when Lanza did appreciate the enormity of his gift, but that in the very period when he should have turned his back on films and returned to the operatic stage - namely, after his dismissal from MGM - he was suffering from a tragic loss of self-confidence. This was hardly surprising. He was, after all, an extremely sensitive man exposed to a level of public criticism that even the hardiest of egos would have struggled to overcome. My essay Confounding the Enemy (http://www.freeradical.co.nz/lanza/ConfoundingtheEnemy.php) elaborates on this.

More than anything else, though, I feel it was guilt about his unfulfilled operatic career that lay behind Lanza's self-destruction. And yet, had he lived and gone on to triumph in Pagliacci at the Rome Opera in 1960, he might very well have pulled himself together both physically and spiritually. But what he desperately needed in his life was a Lindsay Perigo or an Armando Cesari to guide him.   




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