Lanza's voice in my opinion, was in terms of quality equalled by few and surpassed by none...what a pity the man was pulled into the Hollywood industry which destroyed his life. I suppose it was inevitable; he was too good. In the end, money always wins. If he hadn't passed so soon, he may very well have entered into a sucessful operatic career...but I suppose through Hollywood he managed to influence generations of singers who never would have known him had it not been for the film industry...
The first Lanza film I saw was not as one might expect, 'The Great Caruso', but 'The Student Prince' years and years ago, of course Edmund Purdom (spelling?) was lip synching to Lanza's voice...didn't know who Mario Lanza was at that point but I was immediately struck with the glorious sound.
This 1940s recording is my favorite studio rendition of the famous aria from Pagliacci...along with the Caruso version.
Watch videos with other singers performing Vesti la giubba:
Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio, non so più quel che dico, e quel che faccio! Eppur è d'uopo, sforzati! Bah! sei tu forse un uom? Tu se' Pagliaccio!
Vesti la giubba, e la faccia in farina. La gente paga, e rider vuole qua. E se Arlecchin t'invola Colombina, ridi, Pagliaccio, e ognun applaudirà ! Tramuta in lazzi lo spasmo ed il pianto;Change into laughs the spasms of pain; in una smorfia il singhiozzo il dolor, Ah! Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
English Libretto or Translation:
To recite! While taken with delirium, I no longer know what it is that I say, or what it is that I am doing! And yet it is necessary, force yourself! Bah! Can't you be a man? You are "Pagliaccio"
Put on the costume, and the face in white powder. The people pay, and laugh when they please. and if Harlequin invites away Colombina laugh, Pagliaccio, and everyone will applaud! into a grimace the tears of pain, Ah!
Laugh, Pagliaccio, for your love is broken! Laugh of the pain, that poisons your heart!