Sicilian Culture

The People, The History, The Culture

Mario Lanza

1921 - - - 1959

Alfredo Arnoldo Cocozza (Mario Lanza) was born January 31, 1921 in Philadelphia.  Arturo Toscanini described Mario Lanza as "the greatest voice of the 20th century".  Mario's mother, Maria (nee Lanza) had a beautiful soprano voice and dreamed of a singing career, but her father decided that the stage was no place for a married woman.  His father, Antonio Cocozza was a First World War hero and had a fine collection of grand opera records. At the age of 5, little "Freddy" showed a great interest in the old family Victrola which regularly played recording of Caruso and before long, the young boy was singing along with Caruso's records and by the age of 16 he knew he wanted to become a singer. From then on, Mario went on to Opera, Radio, Film and tours worldwide. On April 13, 1959 Mario gave his last concert in Kiel, Germany.  Over worked and very ill for the last year of his life, Mario died of a massive heart attach on October 7, 1959.

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