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 (Aïda) 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 26-50 of 52 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Opera! The Most Famous Arias
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 2156995 Release Date: 10/21/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Anatoly Solovyanenko,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Alberto Cupido,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
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  • 27.
    Ettore Bastianini - Rossini, Puccini, Ponchielli, Verdi, Bizet, Giordano
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1205 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Fedora Barbieri,  Mario Del Monaco,  Gianni Poggi  ... 
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  • 28.
    Mario Del Monaco At The Bolshoi
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4448 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Ruggero Leoncavallo
    Performer:  Ivan Ionov,  Nikolay Zaharov,  Mario Del Monaco,  Philip Fokin  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Melik-Pashayev,  Basiliev Tieskovini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Bolshoi Theatre Chorus
    DVD: $28.99
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  • 29.
    Bellini: Norma / Serafin, Del Monaco, Callas
    Label: Myto Records   Catalog: 140 Release Date: 02/26/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Giuseppe Modesti,  Maria Callas,  Athos Cesarini,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus Rome,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome
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  • 30.
    The # 1 Opera Album Vol 2 / Bartoli, Pavarotti, Price, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000950602 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Edita Gruberova,  Jon [Tenor Vocals] Vickers,  Elizabeth Harwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Sir Georg Solti,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
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  • 31.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Tebaldi, Siepi, Corena, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000994502 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Giulietta Simionato,  Mario Del Monaco,  Cesare Siepi  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Chamber Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Verdi: Otello / Erede, Del Monaco, Tucci, Gobbi, Nhk Symphony
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4425 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Tito Gobbi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Gabriela Tucci
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
    DVD: $38.99
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  • 33.
    Mario Del Monaco Rarities
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1203 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco
    CD: $17.99
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  • 34.
    Verdi: Aida / Capuana, Simionato, Del Monaco, Tucci
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4420 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giulietta Simionato,  Gabriela Tucci,  Mario Del Monaco,  Aldo Protti
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
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  • 35.
    Ultimate Opera - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000895102 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Marilyn Horne,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Henry Lewis,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 36.
    Leoncavallo: I Pagliacci / Del Monaco, Tucci
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4421 Release Date: 05/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Antonio Pirino,  Attilio D'Orazi,  Gabriela Tucci  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Morelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo Choraliers,  Fujiwara Opera Chorus,  NHK Italian Opera Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $28.99
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  • 37.
    J. Strauss: Die Fledermaus / Karajan, Kmentt
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000830202 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Ljuba Welitsch,  Leontyne Price,  Hilde Gueden,  Eberhard Wächter  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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    CD: $23.99
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  • 38.
    Giordano: Andrea Chenier / Capuana, Giordano, Tebaldi
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4419 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi,  Amalia Pini,  Aldo Protti  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fujiwara Opera Chorus Group,  Tokyo Choraliers,  NHK Italian Opera Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $38.99
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  • 39.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1252 Release Date: 12/27/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Zinka Milanov,  Mario Del Monaco,  Leonard Warren,  William Wildermann  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Herbert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Orleans Opera Orchestra,  New Orleans Opera Chorus
    On sale! $34.98
    CD: $30.99
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  • 40.
    Bellini: Norma / Votto, Callas, Simionato, Del Monaco, Et Al
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6460 Release Date: 05/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Nicola Zaccaria,  Giuseppe Zampieri,  Gabriella Carturan,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 41.
    The # 1 Puccini Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000300702 Release Date: 08/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana,  Herbert von Karajan,  Zubin Mehta,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 42.
    Viva Italia!
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000055502 Release Date: 06/10/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Nino Rota,  Eldo Di Lazzaro,  Ernesto De Curtis  ... 
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Ronnie Aldrich,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    Conductor:  Enrique Garcia-Asensio,  Henry Mancini,  Ernesto Nicelli,  Giancarlo Chiaramello  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Mancini Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 43.
    Verdi: Rigoletto /  Del Monaco, Gobbi
    Label: View Video   Catalog: 2403 Release Date: 06/03/2003  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Tito Gobbi,  Mario Del Monaco
    On sale! $17.98
    DVD: $15.99
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  • 44.
    Giordano: Andrea Chénier / Votto, Callas, Del Monaco, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67913 Release Date: 11/05/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Silvana Zanolli,  Aldo Protti,  Maria Amadini,  Lucia Danieli  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 45.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Previtali, Del Monaco, Barbieri
    Label: Hardy Classics   Catalog: 4006 Release Date: 07/23/2002  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Leyla Gencer
    DVD: $38.99
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  • 46.
    Verdi: Otello / Serafin, Del Monaco, Carteti, Capecchi
    Label: Hardy Classics   Catalog: 4004 Release Date: 06/25/2002  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    DVD: $34.99
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  • 47.
    The Great Renata Tebaldi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470280 Release Date: 01/15/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Lydia Marimpietri,  Carlo Bergonzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Alberto Erede,  Fausto Cleva  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 48.
    The #1 Tenor Album / Alagna, Bergonzi, Björling, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470021 Release Date: 07/10/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Mario Del Monaco,  Jussi Björling  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Piero Gamba,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Maurizio Benini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 49.
    Il Mito Dell'opera - Mario Del Monaco
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1160 Release Date: 03/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Francesco Cilèa
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Clara Petrella,  Enzo Mascherini  ... 
    Conductor:  Victor De Sabata
    CD: $17.99
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  • 50.
    Great Tenors Of The Century - Cura, Seiffert, Alagna, Et Al
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 429403 Release Date: 03/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Enrico Caruso,  Joseph Schmidt,  Helge Rosvaenge  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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