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
Verdi: Aida / Tebaldi, Stignani, Del Monaco, Erede
Release Date: 04/12/1994   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 440239   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Puccini: Il Trittico / Gardelli, Tebaldi, Del Monaco
Release Date: 03/30/1999   Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series  
Catalog: 411665   Number of Discs: 3
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Verdi: Il Trovatore / Erede, Del Monaco, Tebaldi, Simionato
Release Date: 01/28/2010   Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series  
Catalog: 411874   Number of Discs: 2
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Bizet: Carmen / Schippers, Resnik, Del Monaco, Sutherland
Release Date: 06/13/1995   Label: London/Decca Double Decker  
Catalog: 443871   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 51-75 of 128 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Puccini Love Duets
    Label: Alto Records   Catalog: 1009 Release Date: 05/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Inge Borkh,  Mario Del Monaco,  Jussi Björling,  Licia Albanese  ... 
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  • 52.
    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  ... 
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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    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  ... 
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  • 55.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Erede, Gueden, Del Monaco, Protti, Et Al
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 305 Release Date: 10/31/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Fernando Corena,  Luisa Ribacchi,  Maria Castelli,  Dario Caselli  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus
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  • 56.
    Giordano: Andrea Chénier / De Monaco, Taddei
    Label: Bel Canto Society   Catalog: 3 Release Date: 06/20/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano
    Performer:  Giuseppe Taddei,  Mario Del Monaco,  Antonietta Stella
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  • 57.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Aldo Protti
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89641 Release Date: 04/25/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Aldo Protti,  Mario Del Monaco,  Angelo Mercuriali,  Piero de Palma  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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  • 58.
    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
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  • 59.
    Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera - Acts 2 & 3 / Sanzogno, Et Al
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 6167 Release Date: 10/25/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Carla Castellani,  Marisa Morel,  Giulietta Simionato,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    Conductor:  Nino Sanzogno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Chorus
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  • 60.
    Greatest Hits - Italy
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000491702 Release Date: 08/09/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo di Crescenzo  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Carlo Bergonzi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
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  • 61.
    Il Mito Dell'opera - 24 Nessun Dorma Da Turandot
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1159 Release Date: 07/26/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Gianfranco Cecchele,  Antonio Salvarezza,  Georges Thill,  Alessandro Granda  ... 
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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    Puccini: La Bohème (Highlights) / Serafin, Tebaldi, Et Al
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000412802 Release Date: 03/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi,  Renata Tebaldi,  Cesare Siepi,  Ettore Bastianini  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Alberto Erede,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Chamber Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Opera - Greatest Hits
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000395502 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Helga Jenckel,  Liselotte Rebmann,  Danica Mastilovic  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  Herbert von Karajan,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    The # 1 Puccini Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000300702 Release Date: 08/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi,  Rolando Panerai,  Elizabeth Harwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Franco Capuana,  Herbert von Karajan,  Zubin Mehta,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 67.
    Callas - A Verona
    Label: Fono Enterprise   Catalog: 1097 Release Date: 03/02/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Gianni Poggi,  Maria Amadini,  Maria Callas,  Paolo Silveri  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto,  Gabriele Santini,  Guido Picco,  Oliviero de Fabritiis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Coro Cetra,  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Orchestra  ... 
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  • 68.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Mitropoulos, Tebaldi, Et Al
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 126 Release Date: 01/27/2004   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Silvio Maionica,  Aldo Protti,  Mario Del Monaco,  Fedora Barbieri  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Grand Tier - Bellini: Norma / Serafin, Callas, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 7003 Release Date: 11/04/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Ebe Stignani,  Rina Cavallari,  Athos Cesarini  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian Radio Chorus Rome
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  • 70.
    Verdi: Aida / Callas, De Fabritiis, Del Monaco, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62678 Release Date: 11/04/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Giuseppe Taddei,  Mario Del Monaco,  Oralia Dominguez,  Ignacio Ruffino  ... 
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Orchestra,  Mexico City Palacio de Bellas Artes Chorus
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  • 71.
    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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  • 72.
    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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  • 73.
    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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  • 74.
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6401 Release Date: 05/23/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alfredo Catalani
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Melchiorre Luise,  Giangiacomo Guelfi,  Renata Scotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
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  • 75.
    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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