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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 76-100 of 128 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    The Compact Opera Collection - Verdi: Il Trovatore / Erede
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470589 Release Date: 02/11/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ugo Savarese,  Renata Tebaldi,  Giulietta Simionato,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Geneva Grand Theatre Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
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  • 78.
    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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  • 79.
    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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  • 80.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Tebaldi, Del Monaco, Molinari-Pradelli
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 421598 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Cesare Siepi,  Silvio Maionica,  Gabriella Carturan  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus
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  • 81.
    Verdi: Otello / Herbert Von Karajan, Del Monaco, Tebaldi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 411618 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco,  Renata Tebaldi,  Aldo Protti,  Nello Romanato  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Children's Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 82.
    The Earliest Testimonial / Maria Callas, Et Al
    Label: Fono Enterprise   Catalog: 1066 Release Date: 09/03/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Fedora Barbieri,  Gino Bechi,  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Orchestra,  Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Chorus
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  • 83.
    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
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  • 84.
    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: $33.99
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  • 85.
    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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  • 86.
    Puccini's Masterworks / Bjorling, Gigli, Melba, Muzio, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 8005 Release Date: 05/07/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Nellie Melba,  Mario Del Monaco,  John McCormack,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
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  • 87.
    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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  • 88.
    Debut Series - Callas - 1949 - One Year, One Voice
    Label: Fono Enterprise   Catalog: 1044 Release Date: 03/05/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Mario Del Monaco,  Gino Bechi,  Fedora Barbieri
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Vittorio Gui,  Arturo Basile
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Orchestra,  Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Chorus,  Naples Teatro San Carlo Chorus  ... 
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  • 89.
    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! $51.99
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  • 90.
    Verdi: Macbeth (Highlights), Etc / Tebaldi, Domingo, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469319 Release Date: 01/15/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Nikita Storojev,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Katia Ricciarelli,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
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  • 91.
    Verdi: Aida /De Fabritiis, Callas, Del Monaco, Taddei, Et Al
    Label: Fono Enterprise   Catalog: 1031 Release Date: 11/13/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Oralia Dominguez,  Maria Callas,  Roberto Silva,  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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  • 92.
    Recitals - Renata Tebaldi - Arias & Scenes
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 2103 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alfredo Catalani,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Franco Corelli,  Giangiacomo Guelfi,  Giuseppe Di Stefano  ... 
    Conductor:  Lovro von Matacic,  Arturo Basile,  Alberto Paoletti,  Dimitri Mitropoulos  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Florence Teatro Comunale Orchestra  ... 
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  • 93.
    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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  • 94.
    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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  • 95.
    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  ... 
    CD not available
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  • 96.
    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
    CD: $33.99
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  • 97.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $15.99
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  • 98.
    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: $16.99
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  • 99.
    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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  • 100.
    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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