A New Biography Of Mario Lanza
By Derek Mannering
October 2001

Click Here For 'Opera News 2000'

Those of you who purchase the new BMG CD MY ROMANCE will notice a small announcement at the end of the liner notes: "Derek Mannering's new biography of Mario Lanza, SINGING TO THE GODS, will be published by Robert Hale Ltd., London in October 2001". The announcement is a testament to Mario's remarkable and enduring legacy and I'd like to explain the meaning behind it now.
It is not very often that a biographer is given the chance to re-visit his subject for a new and fully comprehensive look at that person's life. Such, though, is the case in this instance. On a visit to London last summer I made a request to my publisher that I be permitted to revise and update my existing book for a 10th anniversary edition this year. That book, MARIO LANZA: A BIOGRAPHY, is now in its third printing but a lot has changed in the world of Lanza since it was written and I was anxious to make it as current as possible. John Hale, my publisher, had another idea. Would I be interested instead in writing a completely new book, one that would go into much more detail on Mario's life and career? One, in effect, that would cover everything: the life, the recordings, the films, the concerts, and with as much detail as I would care to put into it.
I was surprised and delighted by the suggestion and agreed wholeheartedly to take it on. My knowledge of Mario's career is a lot more comprehensive now that it was 10 years ago and I had the added benefit of living here in the United States, close to where he lived and to the people who knew him. Let me say right now that the new book is not a re-write or a re-hash of the old one. My goal was to take a completely fresh look at every aspect of Lanza's life and times, the troubled as well as the carefree, and examine it in much more detail than I had before. Speak to his surviving friends, Terry Robinson being at the forefront here, as well as some of his peers on the classical stage. (Richard Leech in particular has made the most beautiful contribution to the new work!) Comb the archives for additional reviews of Mario's concerts. And produce a definitive reference section covering his entire body of work.
Both Turner in Hollywood and BMG in New York have been exceptionally cooperative in helping me with my research and the new Discography will now include all of Mario's RCA and Film recordings, with matrix numbers listed where known. In addition, I have compiled an alphabetical listing of every recording by Mario that is available on tape or disk, with abbreviated source references shown against each entry. Now, when the question is asked if Lanza recorded "I Believe" or "Panis Angelicus", a glance at the list will reveal the answer.
The timeline to produce the work was painfully tight but the text has now been delivered to my publisher. The book will be issued in hardback, with 40 new photos of my own choosing. I will keep Jeff apprised of further developments here as the publication date nears.
SINGING TO THE GODS will be launched at a gathering of the British Mario Lanza Society in England next October, almost ten years to the day when dear friends from that Society welcomed the unveiling of my first book. I can certainly think of no happier reunion.

Derek's New Book Released - Photos

Derek and Ellisa at book-signing...