'The One Tenor' Updated!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Thu, 2015-07-09 04:15

(Particular thanks to Sam Pierson for doing all the "fiddly stuff"—to which I am allergic and at which I'm comprehensively incompetent—getting the book Kindle-ready! Sir Sam, you're a champ!!)


Newly updated, The One Tenor is a labor of love for life-long Mario Lanza devotee, New Zealand radio and television broadcaster Lindsay Perigo. It's the bringing together of his best Lanza-related essays, critiques and interviews over the years, with significant new material exclusive to this book, including Perigo's take on the theory that Mario Lanza suffered from Bipolar Disorder. This theory was first touted in the biography of Lanza, Tenor in Exile, by Roland Bessette, with little explication. In The One Tenor Perigo interviews Mr. Bessette, who elaborates on his theory for the first time. Perigo responds in his stellar chapter, "Mario's Magic Madness." New evidence against Mr. Bessette's claim that an extended TV interview with Mario was canned because of his "manic" demeanour has now been appended.

As of July, 2015, two landmark interviews have been added—one from 2015 with soprano Elaine Malbin, who made two iconic recordings with Lanza in 1950; the other with the late Licia Albanese, whose astounding collaboration with Lanza in an extended Otello sequence for the movie Serenade produced one of the all-time-great performances of the duet from Act 3. This classic interview was recorded in 1995 and appears here for the first time in full in print, with the endearing idiosyncrasies of Madam Albanese's Italian-English left intact.

The author stresses in his Introduction that The One Tenor is not a biography, but a chance to meet the overpoweringly charismatic Mario of screen and record who, in Perigo's opinion, has somewhat eluded biographers hitherto. Perigo argues that the uniqueness of Lanza lay in both his voice and spirit, as he strives to immerse his readers in the glories of both.

The book is exceptional for its musical literacy. Perigo uses his own background as a singing student and connoisseur of voices to maximum advantage. In his time as a broadcaster, Perigo presented a series for New Zealand's National Radio called Singers of Renown, devoted to the great recordings of all great voices. He conducted extended interviews with Joan Sutherland, Sir Donald MacIntyre, Dame Malvina Major, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Licia Albanese and Anna Moffo, along with Mario Lanza's conductor and accompanist, Constantine Callinicos. His wealth of knowledge about the vocal art permeates this entire collection.

Among the diverse features of The One Tenor are Perigo's critiques of several Lanza CD releases of recent times, including the 2015 Sepia release, Mario Lanza—Greatest Operatic Recordings. Youngsters studying voice will find Perigo's observations about Lanza's technique and style illuminating, but these observations are not so technical as to baffle the layman.

Perigo's insights into Lanza are further informed by his friendship for many years with Mario's son, the late Damon Lanza, of whom Perigo writes movingly here in Remembering a Buddy.

Another gracious feature of the book is that Perigo makes way for Lanza-buddy and internet radio personality, Jeff Rense, to write a touching guest-memoir. Perigo and Rense have collaborated in several acclaimed radio shows devoted to Lanza's art.

The One Tenor now boasts three Forewords, two by outstanding singers and one by a leading Lanza authority: Perigo's compatriot, pre-eminent contemporary Wagnerian tenor Simon O'Neill; one of the Irish Tenors now enjoying a distinguished solo career, Honorary President of Lanza Legend, Anthony Kearns; and, newly added in July 2015, compiler of the Sepia CDs Mario Lanza—Greatest Operatic Recordings Vols 1 and 2, and Mario Lanza—My Italian Soul, Dr. Derek McGovern.

Coinciding as it does with the release of these CDs capturing what Perigo calls simply "The Voice" in some of its most dazzling performances, the update of The One Tenor provides an indispensable addition to the Lanza literature and timely salute to Mario's magnificent voice and spirit.


Thank you

Tore's picture

Thanks for the complimentary new edition I recieced from you by e-mail, Perigo! Must be because I bought the first edition. I cannot get it to work, though.


Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

How about a print version of this book? Many people dislike reading long items on their computer or e-reader.

You're welcome Linz. Looking

Sam Pierson's picture

You're welcome Linz. Looking forward to hanging my knighthood on the wall.

Youngsters studying voice will find Perigo's observations about Lanza's technique and style illuminating, but these observations are not so technical as to baffle the layman.

Very true.

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