Mario Lanza: Sublime Serenade
Maria Callas called him the greatest tenor who ever lived. Vocally and technically, Mario Lanza was a genius. Like Callas, Lanza's was a phenomenal talent complimented by a more than monstrous ego. Suffering from what would
today be diagnosed as bi-polar disorder, he lived virtually his whole life with his finger firmly pressed on the self-destruct button.
Too undisciplined to remain in opera, Lanza found himself sucked into the Hollywood whirlpool, engulfed by the opulent lifestyle this offered: easy money, good living, and limitless food, sex and drugs, to which he became increasingly addicted. Lanza took his frustration out of others, frequently launching an uncontrollable temper on those around him and earning himself a reputation as one of the movie stars who were most disliked by their peers in the studio system years.
Lanza's scatological pranks were as legendary as his drinking, womanising and gorging sprees, each one followed by crash diets and periods of dark depression and self-loathing which made him virtually impossible to control. Yet he produced arguably the finest tenor recordings of popular music and opera of the last century as well as some classic films, including The Great Caruso and Serenade.
In Sublime Serenade, David Bret uncompromisingly but lovingly, and in his unique and celebrated style, tells the Lanza story, from his birth in a poor district of Philadelphia, to his death in Rome 38 years later and his involvement with the Mafia. A must for all music and movie fans alike.