Just over a year ago I sat down to dinner in London with producer Alan Byron of Screenbound Pictures. We were there to discuss Alan’s plans for a new documentary on Mario Lanza’s life and career, one that would celebrate rather than criticize a great singer’s legacy. No dark night of Mario Lanza’s soul for this production. Just how well Alan’s documentary eventually turned out will be determined in March when MARIO LANZA: THE BEST OF EVERYTHING is released on DVD. You can already pre-order a copy on Amazon.co.uk and if the current trailer is anything to go by, we are in for a great treat.
At the time of my meeting with Alan, I was also in talks with Sony Classical in New York for a new Mario Lanza CD. I had been pushing for an all-opera collection, a companion CD to the currently available OPERA ARIAS & DUETS and one that would effectively cover the best of Lanza’s remaining operatic recordings. However, once news of Alan’s planned tribute became known, all parties felt that a new best-of collection released at the same time as the documentary would be more appropriate.
This new compilation of popular songs and arias, which also shares the same title as the documentary, is a 2-CD release. Forty-four tracks in all are featured, recordings that span Mario’s entire recording career, from his first studio session in 1949 through to one of his last in Rome a decade later. The collection gave me the opportunity to begin another search through the Lanza archives at Sony but it’s important to keep in mind that very little “new” material remains in the vaults. The well is almost dry but as you will see from the following track list, we did come up with some choice new selections.
My ultimate goal with this new collection was to present a portrait in song of all that Mario Lanza came to represent in his time: the soaring passion, the incredible versatility, the warmth and the sheer joy he brought to virtually every performance. That, in the end, is what THE BEST OF EVERYTHING is all about.
MARIO LANZA: THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
Sony Classical 2-Disc Compilation - March 2017
1. BE MY LOVE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
2. THE LORD’S PRAYER PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
3. Drigo SERENADE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
4. SILENT NIGHT PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED