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Mario Del Monaco (1915 - 1982)


The tenor Mario del Monaco (1915-1982) possessed one of the most thrilling and powerful natural voices, which he used with energy and dramatic intensity, and, at times, unremitting volume. Born in Florence, he studied at the Pesaro Conservatorio before being encouraged by the Italian conductor Tullio Serafin to take part in a competition organised by the Rome Opera School, which he won. After six months Del Monaco left, dissatisfied with the teaching, preferring to learn through recordings.

His formal début was as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at the Teatro Puccini, Rome, in 1941, whilst on leave from the army. He then sang Radamès at the Verona Festival in summer 1946, and in the autumn appeared with the visiting San Carlo company from Naples at Covent Garden in London, where he performed Rodolfo in La bohème, Cavaradossi in Tosca and Canio in Pagliacci. While in London he made his first recordings, for EMI, but these remain unpublished.

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