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 126 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Heroes & Villains - Opera's Leading Men
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001433902 Release Date: 06/01/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi,  Rolando Villazón,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Daniele Callegari,  Robin Stapleton,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 27.
    Mario Del Monaco - Verdi Arias
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421868 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Nicola Rescigno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus,  Geneva Grand Theatre Orchestra  ... 
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  • 28.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Erede, Del Monaco, Tebaldi, Simionato
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 411874 Release Date: 01/28/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ugo Savarese,  Giulietta Simionato,  Renata Tebaldi,  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Geneva Grand Theatre Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Verdi: Stiffelio / Del Monaco, Gulin, De Fabritii, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 7075 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Angelo Marchiandi,  Angeles Gulin,  Giulio Fioravanti,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Teatro San Carlo Orchestra,  Naples Teatro San Carlo Chorus
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  • 30.
    Ultimate Puccini - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280502 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Enzo Sordello,  Renata Tebaldi,  Angelo Mercuriali  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Sir Colin Davis,  Riccardo Muti,  Alberto Erede  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Grandi Voci - Anita Cerquetti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 440411 Release Date: 04/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gasparo Spontini  ... 
    Performer:  Anita Cerquetti,  Mario Del Monaco,  Giulietta Simionato,  Ettore Bastianini
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    Great Operatic Duets
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421314 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Hector Berlioz,  Léo Delibes,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Helen Watts,  April Cantelo  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Puccini: Tosca - Highlights / Molinari-pradelli, Tebaldi Et Al
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4674472 Release Date: 09/02/2008  
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Mario Del Monaco,  George London,  Silvio Maionica
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus
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  • 35.
    Renata Tebaldi - Il Trovatore, Otello, Tosca, La Wally, Etc
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421312 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arrigo Boito,  Alfredo Catalani,  Francesco Cilèa,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Cesare Siepi,  Renata Tebaldi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Luisa Ribacchi  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Fausto Cleva,  Alberto Erede,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra,  Geneva Grand Theatre Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Verdi: Otello, Highlights / Karajan, Del Monaco, Tebaldi
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421324 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Nello Romanato,  Tom Krause,  Fernando Corena  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Giordano: Fedora;  Zandonai: Francesca Da Rimini Highlights
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 433033 Release Date: 06/04/2008   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
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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    Puccini - The Great Opera Collection / 15-Disc Set
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001064502 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Silvio Maionica,  Renata Tebaldi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Piero de Palma  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Tullio Serafin,  Franco Capuana,  Alberto Erede  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus  ... 
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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    Verdi: Otello
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4759984 Release Date: 02/04/2008  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Libero Arbace,  Athos Cesarini,  Fernando Corena,  Tom Krause  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Children's Choir,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Bel Canto - The Beautiful Voices of Italian Opera
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9803 Release Date: 10/16/2007   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Renata Scotto,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Agostino Ferrin  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Riccardo Muti,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus Turin,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome  ... 
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  • 44.
    Maria Callas / 7 Complete Operas (14-disc Set)
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9907 Release Date: 10/16/2007   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Umberto Giordano,  Gasparo Spontini  ... 
    Performer:  Virgilio Carbonari,  Piero de Palma,  Rinaldo Pelizzoni,  Ettore Bastianini  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto,  Herbert von Karajan,  Tullio Serafin,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 45.
    Catalani: La Wally / Cleva, Tebaldi, Del Monaco, Diaz, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1154058 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alfredo Catalani
    Performer:  Piero Cappuccilli,  Justino Diaz,  Lydia Marimpietri,  Alfredo Mariotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Fausto Cleva
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Turin Lyric Chorus,  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra
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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    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
    On sale! $39.95
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  • 48.
    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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  • 49.
    Ultimate Verdi - The Essentials Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000972702 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Mitì Truccato Pace,  Carlo Bergonzi,  Robert Merrill,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Sir Colin Davis,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 50.
    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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