The great American tenor and Hollywood star of Italian origin, Mario Lanza sings “Addio alla Madre”, from the opera “Cavalleria Rusticana,” composed by Pietro Mascagni with a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci. From the 1952 movie “Because You’re Mine”. The female singer is the English character actress Margaret Bert (1896-1971), uncredited in the movie, and it’s not her voice.
Addio alla Madre
“Addio alla Madre” is an aria from the opera “Cavalleria Rusticana,” composed by Pietro Mascagni with a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci. The opera premiered in Rome on May 17, 1890, and was an immediate success. It’s a staple in the verismo style of opera, which focuses on depicting the lives, passions, and tragedies of everyday people.
The aria occurs towards the end of this one-act opera. In the story, the character Turiddu, a young Sicilian man, is about to engage in a duel with Alfio, the husband of the woman he has seduced, Lola. Realizing that he may not survive, Turiddu sings “Addio alla Madre” to bid farewell to his mother, Mama Lucia. He entrusts her with the care of Santuzza, another woman he had once promised to marry. The aria is emotionally charged and is a poignant moment in the opera, as it portrays Turiddu’s regret and resignation in facing the consequences of his actions.
Musically, the aria is often cited for its emotive power, characterized by its soaring melodic lines and rich orchestral textures. It’s a showcase for the tenor’s vocal range and expressive capabilities, often requiring a strong sense of legato, phrasing, and dynamic control to bring out the emotional nuances of the piece.
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Because You’re Mine
The film “Because You’re Mine” is a 1952 musical comedy-drama starring Mario Lanza, who was one of the most famous tenors of his time. Directed by Alexander Hall and produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), the movie was an effort to capitalize on Lanza’s popularity both as an operatic tenor and a movie star. Doretta Morrow played opposite Lanza as the female lead.
In the film, Mario Lanza plays the role of Renaldo Rossano, a famous opera singer who is drafted into the U.S. Army. Despite being in the service, he continues to perform and even falls in love with Bridget Batterson, played by Doretta Morrow. The film incorporates various elements of humor, drama, and of course, music, as it shows Rossano’s attempts to juggle his military responsibilities with his singing career and love life.
The movie features a mix of operatic arias, popular songs, and original compositions created specifically for the film. “Because You’re Mine” was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. One of the most notable arias performed by Lanza in the movie is “Addio alla Madre” from the opera “Cavalleria Rusticana.”
The film served as a vehicle for Mario Lanza’s considerable vocal talents and added to his Hollywood fame. However, it also came at a time when Lanza was dealing with various personal and professional issues, including problems with his weight and his voice, which would later affect his career.
While the movie was a commercial success, it received mixed reviews from critics. Many praised Lanza’s vocal performance but criticized the film for its somewhat formulaic plot.
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