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
Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Tebaldi, Del Monaco, Molinari-Pradelli
Release Date: 09/10/2002   Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series  
Catalog: 421598   Number of Discs: 3
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Verdi: Otello / Erede, Monaco, Tucci, Gobbi, Et Al
Release Date: 08/25/1998   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1160   Number of Discs: 2
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Verdi: Stiffelio / De Fabritiis, Del Monaco, Gulin, Et Al
Release Date: 10/12/1999   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1216   Number of Discs: 2
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Callas Collection - Verdi: Aida / Del Monaco, Taddei, Et Al
Release Date: 06/20/2000   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1250   Number of Discs: 2
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Bellini: Norma / Serafin, Callas, Del Monaco, Et Al
Release Date: 06/19/2001   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1301   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 1-25 of 136 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Riccardo Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini
    Label: Myto Historical Line   Catalog: 240 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Riccardo Zandonai
    Performer:  Bianca Maria Casoni,  Magda [Soprano Vocal] Olivero,  Gabriella Carturan,  Pinuccia Perotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
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  • 2.
    Puccini: Turandot / Borkh, Tebaldi, Erede
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 121202 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Nicola Zaccaria,  Mario Carlin,  Inge Borkh  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus
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  • 3.
    Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West / Capuana, Tebaldi, Del Monaco, Macneil
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 121215 Release Date: 06/10/2014   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
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  • 4.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
    CD: $148.49
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  • 5.
    Grandioso! - Great Verdi Recordings From Caruso To Pavarotti [7 CD-Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001928802 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Sándor Kónya,  Maria Németh,  Renata [Soprano vocal] Tebaldi,  Ebe Stignani  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  János Kulka,  Alberto Erede,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
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  • 6.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22305 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Fernando Corena,  Aldo Protti,  Hilde Gueden,  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
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  • 7.
    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
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  • 8.
    Verdi: Macbeth
    Label: Bella Voce   Catalog: 7702250 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Edgard Boniface,  André Turp,  Rhoderick Davies,  Amy Shuard  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Nino Sanzogno
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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  ... 
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  • 14.
    Verdi: Ernani / Del Monaco, Bastianini, Previtali
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9089 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni,  Athos Cesarini,  Margherita Roberti,  Anna di Stasio  ... 
    Conductor:  Fernando Previtali
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Teatro San Carlo Orchestra
    On sale! $27.99
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  • 15.
    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: $18.99
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  • 16.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0126 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Renata [Soprano vocal] Tebaldi,  Cesare Siepi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Fedora Barbieri  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    CD: $14.99
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  • 17.
    Giordano: Fedora; Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini Highlights
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001614802 Release Date: 11/21/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Riccardo Zandonai
    Performer:  Magda Olivero,  Tito Gobbi,  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 18.
    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
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  • 19.
    The Decca Sound - Highlights [5-CD Set]
    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! $77.99
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  • 20.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   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: $175.49
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    La Boheme / Tebaldi, Bergonzi, Bastianini, Serafin
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 2017 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Georgio Onesti,  Carlo Bergonzi,  Fernando Corena,  Cesare Siepi  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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  • 23.
    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: $12.99
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  • 24.
    A Song For You - Mario Del Monaco, Mantovani
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 8145 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigmund Romberg,  Stanislas Gastaldon,  Cesare Andrea Bixio,  Giovanni Furno  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mantovani Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 25.
    Il Mito Dell'opera - Leoncavallo: 16 Prologues To Pagliacci
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1214 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo
    Performer:  Domenico Viglione-Borghese,  Carlo Galeffi,  Robert Merrill,  Pasquale Amato  ... 
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