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Europe Remembers Mario
By Derek Mannering
I am pleased to announce a number of very special commemorative events currently being organized in the United Kingdom and in Ireland for the 50th anniversary of Mario Lanza's passing.
On October 7th, the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire in the U.K. will host a musical salute to the great American tenor. This event is being sponsored by the British Mario Lanza Society, with special guests Ellisa Lanza Bregman and her husband Bobby in attendance. Ellisa is the Honorary President of the BMLS, the world's longest surviving Lanza fan club, and her presence in Birmingham that night will grace what promises to be an elegant and moving tribute to her father.
Details of the concert, booking, etc. can be found at the Conservatoire's website:
The following morning, October 8th, Ellisa and Bobby will fly to Dublin where I will join them for an event-filled day honoring Mario Lanza. First up is a visit to the lovely Botanic Gardens, located a short drive from the city centre. As many of you know, the beautiful Mario Lanza Rose was unveiled at the Hampton Court Flower Show in July 2000 and until now has only been available in the U.K. That will change on October 8th at the garden center when Ellisa will formally introduce the Lanza Rose into Ireland. (A photo of the flower is featured prominently in the jewel case and booklet to the great Lanza CD "My Romance.") Pam Latham from the BMLS, who commissioned the original rose, hopes to attend the ceremony as well.
At 8 p.m. that evening, a gala tribute to Mario Lanza will take place at Dublin's beautiful Nation Concert Hall.
The event is being organized by long-time Lanza admirer Geraldine McCann and promoter Pat Egan, and a great night of music and song is guaranteed. The concert will also be presented at the Cork Opera House on October 6th and at U.C.H. in Limerick on October 7th. Ellisa has been asked to say a few words on stage at the Dublin event and already there is much advance promotional coverage on Ireland's popular radio shows.
This visit to Ireland will be a special homecoming of sorts for Ellisa and for me. We first met in Dublin in the late 1960s when we were both in our teens and it will be wonderful to join up with her again in my hometown for these very special high-profile tributes to her father.
Following the concert, Ellisa and Bobby will return to the U.K. where I will meet with them later for the yearly gathering of the British Mario Lanza Society in Stratford-upon-Avon. I expect a lot of very happy memories will be made for us all on this trip.
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