Mario Del Monaco

Biography

Born: July 27, 1915; Florence, Italy   Died: October 6, 1982; Mestra, Italy  
The stentorian dramatic tenor of Mario del Monaco was heard throughout the world during the 1950s and 1960s. While often berated by critics for his unsubtle vocal production, del Monaco was a favorite of audiences who appreciated his power and sincerity of approach while tackling the heaviest roles in the Italian tenor repertory. A contract with Decca (London in the United States) produced a long series of recordings, many of them in partnership Read more with Renata Tebaldi, and most of which have been reissued in CD format.

After having studied the early recordings of many tenors, del Monaco studied for a short time at the Pesaro Conservatory before gaining entry in 1935 to the school attached to the Rome Opera, largely through the urging of conductor Tullio Serafin. His formal debut occurred in 1941 at the Teatro Puccini as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly -- while on leave from the army. Engagements were quickly forthcoming once WW II ended. A successful Radames (Aďda) at Verona was followed by appearances at Covent Garden with the Neapolitan Opera (Canio, Cavaradossi, and Pinkerton). Central and South America offered performances in Mexico City, at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and in Rio de Janeiro.

His North American debut took place at the San Francisco Opera as Radames in 1950. He was thereupon engaged by Rudolf Bing for a November 1950 appearance at the Metropolitan as des Grieux in Manon Lescaut. Subsequently, he sang more than 100 performances at the Met over the course of seven seasons, appearing also at Chicago's Lyric Opera during the 1950s. In that time, del Monaco became the world's leading Otello, performing the role (according to his own tally) 427 times. Other roles which formed the core of his repertory included Enzo in Ponchielli's La Gioconda, the title role in Giordano's Andrea Chénier (next to Otello perhaps his most authoritative role), Don Alvaro in La forza del destino, Don José and Saint-Saëns' Samson (despite his less-than-fluent French), Verdi's Ernani, Dick Johnson in Puccini's La fanciulla del West and Pollione in Bellini's Norma. In Italy, he occasionally ventured into the Wagnerian repertory, although these performances were sung in Italian. He did, however, record Siegmund's "Winterstürme" from Die Walküre in German. It was not regarded as a success.

From the 1960s to his retirement from the stage in 1973, del Monaco increasingly confined his appearances to Italy, although he continued to record for Decca. His Loris in Giordano's Fedora (with Magda Olivero as the heroine) was taped when the singer was in his mid-fifties, by which time his voice had lost what little pliancy it had possessed earlier.

Among del Monaco's most prominent recordings are his two as Otello, each with the same principals (Tebaldi as Desdemona and Aldo Protti as Iago), but the second with Herbert von Karajan as conductor. His Andrea Chénier was preserved by Decca with Tebaldi as Maddalena and Ettore Bastianini as Gérard as well as in a live recording from Tokyo with Tebaldi and Protti.

The un-orthodox method of vocal production favored by del Monaco allowed him an overwhelming measure of strength in his middle and upper-middle registers, but lent a metallic buzz to his timbre and precluded his singing softly. Still, critics, following his death, rued his passing as they recalled performances of unsurpassed excitement. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 93 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Opera Gold: 100 Great Tracks
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002503602 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Henry Lewis,  Richard Bonynge,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 2.
    Puccini: La fanciulla del West / Tebaldi, Capuana
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 2028 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Bianca Maria Casoni,  Mario Del Monaco,  Piero de Palma,  Michele Cazzato  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
    CD: $10.99
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  • 3.
    Decca Sound: 55 Great Vocal Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002495002 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Gustave Charpentier,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Suzanne Danco,  Pierre Mollet,  Guido Agosti,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Ernest Ansermet,  Karl Böhm,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $134.49
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  • 4.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 5.
    Giuseppe Verdi: Ernani
    Label: Myto Records   Catalog: 337 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni,  Mario Rinaudo,  Mario Carlin,  Onelia Fineschi  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 6.
    Karajan - The Opera Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002328102 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Franz Lehár,  Franz von Suppé  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz Zednik,  Christine Barbaux,  Katia Ricciarelli,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Paris Opera Chorus,  Schöneberg Boys Choir  ... 
    CD: $279.49
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  • 7.
    Berlioz: I Troiani
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 347 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    CD: $12.99
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  • 8.
    Voce D'Angelo - The Complete Decca Recordings / Renata Tebaldi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4781535 Release Date: 01/20/2015   Number of Discs: 66
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Giovanni Inghilleri,  Giacinto Prandelli,  Melchiorre Luise,  Fernando Corena  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 9.
    Ponchielli: La Gioconda / Gavazzeni, Cerquetti, Sacchi, Simionato
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 121201 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli
    Performer:  Anita Cerquetti,  Mario Del Monaco,  Ettore Bastianini,  Franca Sacchi  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
    CD: $29.99
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  • 10.
    Riccardo Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini
    Label: Myto Historical Line   Catalog: 240 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Riccardo Zandonai
    Performer:  Gabriella Carturan,  Anna Maria Rota,  Rinaldo Pelizzoni,  Angelo Mercuriali  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    CD: $12.99
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  • 11.
    Puccini: La Boheme [highlights] / Serafin, Tebaldi, Bergonzi, D'angelo
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002009202 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Carlo [Tenor Vocals] Bergonzi,  Renata Tebaldi,  Renato Cesari,  Cesare Siepi  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Alberto Erede,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Lamberto Gardelli
    CD: $6.99
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  • 12.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 13.
    Grandioso! - Great Verdi Recordings From Caruso To Pavarotti [7 CD-Set]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001928802 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Sándor Kónya,  Maria Németh,  Ebe [Mezzo-soprano Vocal] Stignani,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  János Kulka,  Alberto Erede,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
    On sale! $49.98
    CD: $46.99
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  • 14.
    Leoncavallo: Pagliacci / Nebolsin, Del Monaco, Bolshoi Theater
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001663 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo
    Performer:  Leocadia Maslennikova,  Mario Del Monaco,  Alexei Ivanov,  Nikolai Timchenko  ... 
    Conductor:  Vasily Nebolsin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Bolshoi Theatre Chorus
    CD: $18.99
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  • 15.
    Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West / Mitropoulos, Steber, Del Monaco, Giacomo, Guelfi, Tozzi, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2080 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Giangiacomo Guelfi,  Vito Susca,  Enzo Viaro,  Eleanor Steber  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
    CD: $21.99
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  • 16.
    Singers Of The Century - 40 Greats Of  The 20th Century
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2078 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Giuseppe Taddei,  Richard Tucker,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 17.
    Callas, Verdi: Four Legendary Live Performances
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 799202 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Rosita Rodriguez,  Maria Callas,  Ignacio Ruffino,  Roberto Silva  ... 
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Victor De Sabata,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Orchestra,  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 18.
    Puccini: The Great Operas [13-CD Set]
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9011 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  John Reardon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Victor De Sabata,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Giuseppe Morelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Columbus Boychoir,  RCA Victor Chorus  ... 
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  • 19.
    Voices of Italian Opera
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40509 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Edita Gruberova,  Margherita Carosio,  Francesco Meli  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Kurt Eichhorn,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Evelino Pidň  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 20.
    Opera 2012
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001675802 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Umberto Giordano,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Anna Netrebko,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Fabio Luisi,  Antonio Pappano,  Giovanni Antonini  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 21.
    Giordano: Andrea Chenier / Votto, Callas, Del Monaco, Protti
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 0882252 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Aldo Protti,  Silvana Zanolli,  Maria Amadini  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    Recommendation
    CD: $24.99
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  • 22.
    The Decca Sound - Highlights
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001620002 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Béla Bartók,  Benjamin Britten,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Franco Capuana,  István Kertész,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir  ... 
    On sale! $37.99
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    $34.99
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  • 23.
    Dreamticket To Andrea Chenier
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 21001 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Riccardo Stracciari,  Giacomo Lauri-Volpi,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 24.
    La Boheme / Tebaldi, Bergonzi, Bastianini, Serafin
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 2017 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Renato Cesari,  Ettore Bastianini,  Attilio D'Orazi,  Georgio Onesti  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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    CD: $13.99
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  • 25.
    J. Strauss, Jr.: Die Fledermaus / Karajan, Gueden, Kmentt, Resnik
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 2018 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz Lehár,  Louis Ferrari,  Frederick Loewe  ... 
    Performer:  Waldemar Kmentt,  Erika Köth,  Walter Berry,  Erich Kunz  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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