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 101-125 of 136 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Verdi: Ernani / Mitropoulos, Christoff, Del Monaco, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1287 Release Date: 10/16/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Anita Cerquetti,  Boris Christoff,  Ettore Bastianini
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
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  • 102.
    Giordano: Andrea Chenier / Votto, Callas, Del Monaco, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1330 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Mario Del Monaco,  Aldo Protti,  Lucia Danieli  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 103.
    The Singers - Mario Del Monaco
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467919 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  César Franck,  Nicholas Brodszky,  Leonard Bernstein,  Stanislas Gastaldon  ... 
    Performer:  Brian Runnett,  Mario Del Monaco,  Lucilla Cipriano,  Tom Krause  ... 
    Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Carlo Franci,  Herbert von Karajan,  Nicola Rescigno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mantovani & His Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 104.
    Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur / Capuana, Tebaldi, Del Monaco
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 430256 Release Date: 09/11/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Giulietta Simionato,  Giulio Fioravanti,  Silvio Maionica  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus
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  • 105.
    Essential Puccini - 36 of His Greatest Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460969 Release Date: 08/14/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  José Carreras,  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Franco Capuana,  Herbert von Karajan,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra  ... 
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  • 106.
    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  ... 
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  • 107.
    Bellini: Norma / Serafin, Callas, Del Monaco, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1301 Release Date: 06/19/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Ebe Stignani,  Maria Callas,  Athos Cesarini,  Rina Cavallari  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Rome Opera House Chorus
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  • 108.
    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
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  • 109.
    Puccini: La Bohème Highlights, Etc / Bergonzi, Tebaldi, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458248 Release Date: 02/13/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Renato Cesari,  Gianna D'Angelo,  Renata Tebaldi,  Carlo Bergonzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
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  • 110.
    Verdi: Ernani / Mitropoulos, Cerquetti, Del Monaco, Et Al
    Label: Bel Canto Society   Catalog: 5011 Release Date: 08/22/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Anita Cerquetti,  Mario Del Monaco,  Ettore Bastianini,  Boris Christoff  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
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  • 111.
    Callas Collection - Verdi: Aida / Del Monaco, Taddei, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1250 Release Date: 06/20/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Oralia Dominguez,  Ignacio Ruffino,  Roberto Silva,  Rosita Rodriguez  ... 
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Orchestra,  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Chorus
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  • 112.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 507 Release Date: 06/06/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Aldo Protti,  Giulietta Simionato,  Paolo Washington,  Athos Cesarini  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana
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  • 113.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 511 Release Date: 06/06/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Nicola Zaccaria,  Gabriella Carturan,  Giulietta Simionato  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
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  • 114.
    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  ... 
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  • 115.
    Verdi: Stiffelio / De Fabritiis, Del Monaco, Gulin, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1216 Release Date: 10/12/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giulio Fioravanti,  Angelo Marchiandi,  Eva Ruta,  Luigi Paolillo  ... 
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Teatro San Carlo Orchestra,  Naples Teatro San Carlo Chorus
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  • 116.
    Giordano: Andrea Chenier / Tebaldi, Del Monaco
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1199 Release Date: 08/17/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi,  Amalia Pini,  Silvano Pagliuca  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo Lirici Italiana
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  • 117.
    Recitals - An Evening With Mario Del Monaco
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 2004 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Fedora Barbieri,  Leyla Gencer,  Tito Gobbi
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  • 118.
    Recitals - An Evening With Tito Gobbi
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 2003 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Tito Gobbi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Irmgard Seefried
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  • 119.
    Puccini: Il Trittico / Gardelli, Tebaldi, Del Monaco
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 411665 Release Date: 03/30/1999   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Robert Merrill,  Lucia Danieli,  Silvio Maionica,  Renato Ercolani  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
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  • 120.
    The Tenors Of The Century
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 459362 Release Date: 01/12/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  José Ximénez,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Luigi Alva,  Renato Cesari,  José Carreras,  Francisco Araiza  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Daniel Garcia Blanco,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 121.
    Verdi: Otello / Erede, Monaco, Tucci, Gobbi, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1160 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Gabriela Tucci,  Tito Gobbi,  Mariano Caruso,  Anna di Stasio  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo,  NHK Symphony Chorus Tokyo
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  • 122.
    Nessun Dorma - 20 Great Tenor Arias / Pavarotti, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458215 Release Date: 06/09/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Jussi Björling,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Zubin Mehta,  Alberto Erede,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 123.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino - Highlights / Molinari-pradelli
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 452736 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Cesare Siepi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi,  Ettore Bastianini  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus
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  • 124.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore Highlights / Tebaldi, Del Monaco, Erede
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4501892 Release Date: 07/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Luisa Maragliano,  Renata Tebaldi,  Giulietta Simionato,  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Geneva Grand Theatre Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
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  • 125.
    Bizet: Carmen / Schippers, Resnik, Del Monaco, Sutherland
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 443871 Release Date: 06/13/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Regina Resnik,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Claude Calès,  Georgette Spanellys  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Geneva Grand Theatre Chorus
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