Biography of Mario del Monaco (1915-1982)

Tenor born on July 27, 1915 in the Italian city of Florence and died October 16, 1982 in the town of Mestre.

Mario de el Monaco, which was destined to become one of the 20th-century opera divos, began his training in a self-taught way, what not found it difficult taking into account that it possessed a beautiful voice impostada naturally. Before debuting on the stage, he spent time receiving lessons at the Conservatory of Pesaro, almost immediately into the prestigious school of Opera of Rome. In 1939, when he was twenty-four years old, he began his operatic career representing the character of Turiddu, the male protagonist of the opera which is entitled Cavalleria Rusticana, of the composer Pietro Mascagni, a very appropriate to their vocal and interpretative characteristics paper that it would represent many more times throughout his long career as a singer, and that it would provide a good part of his celebrity.

Mario de el Monaco was, in fact, the most important Italian tenor throughout the decades of the 1940s, the fifty-one good part of the sixties, and this not only on the Italian operatic stage, but also on the of the of opera most important theatres of the world. In fact, throughout the 1950s, del Monaco had the opportunity to sing in more than one hundred times in the Metropolitan Theatre of New York, one of the major shrines of the opera. The singer was also a regular visitor of the opera seasons held in Covent Garden London or at teatro de La Scala in Milan.

Mario de el Monaco vocal color corresponded to what, within the Italian terminology, referred to as a dramatic tenor. The celebrity that reached and who was able to maintain throughout his career was not enough so that certain circles of singing fans criticize his style as not being sufficiently subtle in their interpretations. In fact, Mario de el Monaco, as well as many Italian singers of his time and even today, carried out interpretations based on the display of a vocal power that, in his case, turned out to be really extraordinary. In any case, the same displays of power that often get partisan to certain types of public, tend to be considered by connoisseurs in the art of the vocal performance real as devoid of nuances. Mario de el Monaco, however, managed to find a sort of between the display of his voice and the correct interpretation of the Opera characters, thanks in good part to its early discovery of a type of repertoire that was more than any other to its vocal tessitura, its kind of emission and his musical sensibility. The qualities of the passionate voice of Mario de el Monaco shone particularly on the roles of the Italian Verismo operas, which, usually, require a type of expression more torn than other codes. Another positive aspect of the style of Mario de el Monaco, also very characteristic of the Italian vocal school, was his clear conception of the legato, the line that transforms what in principle would not be more than a succession of notes, in a poetic text with melody. As an actor, what less can be said of it is that it was cold: even though it did not possess a conventional interpretative technique, configured in the manner that is taught today in the conservatories, the same passionate style that manifested itself in his voice remained patent in their performances on stage. In fact the intensity with which became the fact of being front to the public playing a role is evident in his voice recordings made on operas "live", that much more convincing that those that took place in a study, while listening to this last vocal restraint lovers can enjoy the opportunity to check that, while the voice of Mario de el Monaco stood out above all for its naturalness, the singer if sought, at least occasionally, make use of the technical resources needed to carry out diminuendos or singing notes on piano.

In addition to the role of Turiddu, which debuted in Rome, papers that reached one greater career success were Canio in I Pagliacci opera, the composer Ruggero Leoncavallo; Pinkerton, the English officer who betrayed to the Japanese star of the opera Madame Butterfly and Dick Johnson, of the opera La fanciulla del West, both of the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini; Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur, Francesco Cilea'sopera; Pollione, at the opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini, and other characters belonging to the Italian Verismo operas. Mario de el Monaco also noted in a number of roles from the operas of Giuseppe Verdi, among which include the following: Don Álvaro, male protagonist of the forza del destino opera; Radames, Aida opera; Manrico, the opera Il trovatore, etc. But the tenor not only clashed with success to the Italian repertoire, but also carried out raids in the French repertoire, playing roles such as Don José, who stars in the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet, and Aeneas, of the opera entitled Les Troyens, composed by Hector Berlioz. Thanks to the power and the timbre richness of the voice of Mario de el Monaco, as well as their stage presence, the tenor also obtained some success within a field in which there are few Italian singers that they operate comfortably, and even less so in the times in which del Monaco made it: from the demanding repertoire imperative. Thus, tenor carried out brilliant performances in roles such as Lohengrin and Siegfried. The last one, sang it in the original German language of the libretto.


DEL Monaco, M.: the mia vita e i miei successi, Milan, 1982.

SEGOND, a. SÉBILLE, D.: Mario de el Monaco; OU a Tenor of Legende, Lyons, 1981.