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 51-75 of 83 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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
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  • 52.
    Classic Recitals - Mario Del Monaco - Great Tenor Arias
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4756234 Release Date: 10/12/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Alfredo Catalani,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra
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  • 53.
    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: $14.99
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  • 54.
    Verdi: La Forza del Destino / Mitropoulos, Tebaldi, del Monaco
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 126 Release Date: 01/27/2004   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Cesare Siepi,  Fedora Barbieri,  Aldo Protti  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 55.
    Regina Resnik - Dramatic Scenes & Arias
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 475017 Release Date: 08/12/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  George Forrest,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Waldemar Kmentt,  Regina Resnik,  Robert Merrill,  Peter Gougaloff  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Mike Sammes Singers  ... 
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  • 56.
    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  ... 
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  • 57.
    Verdi: Rigoletto /  Del Monaco, Gobbi
    Label: View Video   Catalog: 2403 Release Date: 06/03/2003  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Tito Gobbi,  Mario Del Monaco
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  • 58.
    Verdi: Aida / Erede, Tebaldi, Del Monaco, Corena, Et Al
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 191 Release Date: 04/22/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Fernando Corena,  Aldo Protti  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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    CD: $31.49
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  • 59.
    Renata Tebaldi - The Classic Puccini Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 473045 Release Date: 03/11/2003   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Ezio Giordano,  Mario Del Monaco,  Gaetano Fanelli,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Franco Capuana,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West / Capuana, Tebaldi, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 421595 Release Date: 09/10/2002   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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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    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
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  • 64.
    Great Voices Of The Past - Opera's Greatest Heroes
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 8007 Release Date: 05/07/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Richard Wagner,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Beniamino Gigli,  Lauritz Melchior  ... 
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  • 65.
    The Voice of Italy / Pavarotti, Freni, di Stefano...
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470829 Release Date: 04/09/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Manuel Ausensi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  Leone Magiera,  Piero Gamba,  Franco Patanè  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Naples Rossini Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 66.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $22.99
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  • 67.
    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: $14.99
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  • 68.
    Italian Singers Of Wagner Vol 2 / Del Monaco, Pertile, Et Al
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6354 Release Date: 06/26/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Giuseppe Modesti,  Africo Baldelli,  Maria Callas,  Luigi Rossi-Morelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Vittorio Gui,  Lorenzo Molajoli,  Carlo Sabajno,  Argeo Quadri  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus Rome,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 69.
    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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  • 70.
    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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  • 71.
    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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  • 72.
    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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  • 73.
    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
    CD: $9.99
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  • 74.
    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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  • 75.
    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
    On sale! $18.98
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