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Mario Del Monaco (1915 - 1982)

Mario del Monaco was born into an affluent middle-class family. After spending some time in Libya, where his father, a state official, had been posted, the family settled in Pesaro. At the age of thirteen Mario started to play the violin, but his real passion was for singing and he began lessons with Maestro Raffaelli, who recognisd his unique vocal potential. He then moved to Arturo Melocchi, who prepared him for a vocal scholarship offered by the Rome Opera which he won. At the audition he met the soprano Rina Filippini, to whom he became engaged shortly afterwards.

After a short estrangement from Melocchi, which was repaired by his fiancée, del Monaco was ready to make his debut as Turiddù / Cavalleria rusticana at the Teatro Rossini, Pesaro in 1939. Enlisted as a soldier in the Italian army, he auditioned for the Teatro Puccini in Milan and was invited to sing Pinkerton / Madam Butterfly on 31 December 1940. During the following year he married Rina and sang Cavaradossi / Tosca opposite Maria Caniglia at the Teatro Regio, Parma, followed by the world premiere there of Nino Rota’s opera Ariodante in 1942.



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