Lanza, Mario

Lanza, Mario (b. Alfredo Arnold Cocozza)

(1921–59) tenor; born in Philadelphia. Discovered while working in the family's grocery business, he auditioned for Serge Koussevitzky in 1942 and appeared that summer at Tanglewood. His career was interrupted by service in World War II and afterward he went on to Hollywood to appear in several musicals, including his most famous role in The Great Caruso (1951). Never a truly disciplined artist, he refused to restrain either his personality or his appetites and died of a heart attack in Rome.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lanza, Mario


(real name, Alfredo Arnold Cocozza). Born Jan. 31, 1921, in Philadelphia; died Oct. 7, 1959, in Rome. American tenor. Of Italian descent.

Lanza studied under several instructors, including the well-known Italian E. Rosati. He began his career in 1942. His successful concert tours of cities throughout the United States were first undertaken in 1946. Lanza performed several roles with the New Orleans Opera, including Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata. His voice had extraordinary power and beautiful timbre. He captivated listeners with his emotionalism and strength of feeling. Lanza appeared in films, including The Great Caruso and Serenade.


Callinicos, C. The Mario Lanza Story. New York [1960]. Iakovlev, M. “Mario Lantsa.” In Muzykal’naia zhizn’. 1960, no. 13.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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